The novel takes place at a boys’ juvenile detention center situated in the dried up bed of a fictional lake in Texas. Most of the story is set in contemporary time, around the end of the 1990s. There are flashbacks to the town of Green Lake, which existed one hundred ten years earlier before the lake dried up. (Note: There is an actual Green Lake, one of the largest lakes in Texas, southwest of Port Lavaca, but the real town of Green Lake was all but abandoned after the Civil War.) There are also flashbacks to a village in Latvia in the mid-1800s.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
He is the fifteen-year-old main character, the protagonist of the novel. His family has a history of bad luck, and accordingly, Stanley is wrongfully convicted of stealing, and is sent to the detention center, Camp Green Lake. He arrives there an overweight boy with low self-esteem, but after befriending Zero and surviving the ordeals in and around Camp Green Lake, he leaves with tremendous physical and emotional strength. Zero (Hector Zeroni)
He is a quiet, strong willed boy who is at the detention center with Stanley. He is good at digging. The other campers and the counselors think he is too stupid to do anything else. In reality, Zero is smart and very quick with numbers, but he is uneducated due to homelessness. Stanley teaches Zero to read and the two boys become best friends. It is this friendship that enables them to survive.
He is the mean, antagonistic counselor at Camp Green Lake. He is cruel and sarcastic, always reminding the boys that they are not at a “Girl Scout Camp.” Mr. Pendanski
He seems the nicer of the counselors at first, but he turns out to be mean spirited. He regularly taunts and berates Zero, and jokes that the holes could be graves for Stanley and Zero. The Warden
She is the embodiment of cruel authority. She runs Camp Green Lake with rewards and...