Small Steps

Small Steps is a captivating novel written by acclaimed author Louis Sachar. It is a sequel to his award-winning book, Holes, and continues the story of one of its characters, Theodore “Armpit” Johnson. Set in Austin, Texas, this fictional tale takes readers on a thrilling journey as Armpit faces new challenges and discovers valuable life lessons.

The Story

Theodore “Armpit” Johnson, a young African American teenager, is the main protagonist of Small Steps. After his release from Camp Green Lake, as depicted in Holes, Armpit struggles to find his way in the world. The story delves into his journey of self-discovery, redemption, and personal growth.

Armpit finds himself entangled in a ticket-scalping scheme to earn some extra money. He forms an unlikely friendship with a disabled girl named X-Ray. Together, they navigate through the ups and downs of their teenage years, striving to overcome their past mistakes and make positive changes in their lives.

This thought-provoking novel sheds light on the complexities of friendship, love, and courage, ultimately emphasizing the power of small steps towards achieving personal and collective goals.

Awards, Reviews, and Praise

Small Steps has received critical acclaim since its publication, resonating with both young adult and adult audiences. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2006. It has been commended for its compelling plot, well-developed characters, and its ability to address relevant social issues.

Readers and critics alike have praised Sachar’s writing style, which effortlessly immerses audiences into the world of Armpit, making them feel deeply connected to his journey. Small Steps has also been applauded for its insightful exploration of themes like resilience, friendship, and the power of second chances.

Memorable Characters

Theodore “Armpit” Johnson: The protagonist of the story, Armpit, is a complex character with a troubled past. As the narrative unfolds, readers witness his transformation from a young man burdened by previous mistakes to someone who seeks redemption and personal growth.

X-Ray: X-Ray is a disabled girl Armpit befriends. She plays an important role in his life, offering support and encouragement throughout their adventures.

Kaira DeLeon: Kaira is a talented and aspiring songwriter who becomes a romantic interest for Armpit. Their relationship adds an element of romance and provides Armpit with newfound motivation to change his life.


In conclusion, Small Steps is a remarkable novel filled with engaging characters, an intricate plot, and profound life lessons. As a sequel to Holes, it continues the story of Theodore “Armpit” Johnson, offering readers an opportunity to witness his personal growth and redemption. Through Sachar’s expert storytelling, the book has garnered critical acclaim, receiving awards and positive reviews for its remarkable literary merit. Small Steps is a must-read for anyone seeking an inspiring and thought-provoking narrative in the genre of young adult literature.

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