What to read after... Holes by Louis Sachar

Published on: 08 August 2023

Louis Sachar’s superb novel Holes is loved up and down the country by teachers and children alike. It is often noted as one of the best novels to share as a class. If you’ve been lucky enough to share it together but now you’re not quite sure where to go next, then look no further! We’ve picked out the key themes from the book and sorted some other recommendations to whet your appetite.

Illustration from the cover of Holes by Louis Sachar


In Sharna Jackson’s High-Rise Mystery, two sisters, Nik and Norva, live in a London tower block and stumble upon a murder mystery. Determined to seek justice for their community, the resourceful duo put their detective skills to the test, uncovering secrets that challenge the very foundations of their high-rise home.

In Kirsty Applebaum’s The Middler, eleven-year-old Maggie lives in a society divided into two classes: the youngers and olders. As a middler, she feels torn between loyalty to her family and a growing sense of justice. When she discovers a dangerous secret, she must make a brave choice that could change everything. This gripping dystopian tale explores themes of identity, courage, and the power of standing up for what is right.


Jennifer Killick is often referred to as the queen of horror, but I believe that her special power is creating characters that become etched on your heart. You feel their every decision and you grow to root for them with everything in your soul! Dread Wood shows off both of her superpowers. A scary tale to keep you on the edge of your seat as well as some marvellous characters that will make you desperate to grab the sequels.

Padraig Kenny’s debut novel Tin has echoes of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A group of robot friends search for their missing friend but also answers as to their own true identity. A life-changing journey begins for all of the friends. Can they handle the truths that they will uncover?

Illustration from The Middler by Kirsty ApplebaumIllustration from The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum


You’re getting a two for one here: I can’t choose which Mitch Johnson novel to recommend – Kick which follows Budi who dreams of becoming a football star, but he's trapped in a sweatshop factory making football boots. Determined to escape, he tackles adversity to pursue his passion. The factory owner is an exploitative and oppressive figure who mistreats the workers for his own gain. Then there is Pop! which is a truly superb criticism of capitalism. When the only two people on Earth with the recipe for the world’s most loved cola go missing after a plane crash, the world goes crazy searching for the recipe and going to any length to get one of the last remaining bottles of pop.

Helena Duggan’s A Place Called Perfect is far from perfect! Violet discovers her seemingly perfect new town hides dark secrets. With strange occurrences and people wearing unusual glasses, she must unravel the mysteries to save her father and confront the sinister truth lurking behind the façade of perfection.

More by Louis Sachar

The obvious next step is Small Steps. In this continuation of the story, Armpit is released from Camp Green Lake and attempts to turn his life around. He plans to stay out of trouble and make something positive of himself. However, life doesn’t go as smoothly as he hoped, and he finds himself facing new challenges and unexpected opportunities.

My personal favourite is There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom which follows Bradley Chalker, a troubled boy, known for his misbehaviour. When a new counsellor, Carla, arrives, she helps him confront his issues, transforming him into a caring individual. The heart-warming tale explores friendship, self-discovery and the power of compassion.

Dean Boddington is an Assistant Headteacher, parent and Book Blogger. He creates a monthly reading newsletter – 'No Shelf Control' – as well as producing recommendation resources for schools. Check out misterbodd.wordpress.com and Facebook.com/no-shelf-control-reviews.

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Those are some of our ideas – but what about you? Which book that provokes discussion would you recommend?

Let us know by tweeting us @BookTrust using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter.


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