Cover image for A hole in the world
A hole in the world
Hite, Sid.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
204 pages : 20 cm
Fifteen-year-old Paul Shackleford experiences an eye-opening and transformative summer living and working on the central Virginia farm belonging to a distant relative, where everyone seems to be haunted by the death of a much-loved and admired farmhand the year before.
Reading Level:
900 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.0 5.0 54638.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.5 9 Quiz: 25899 Guided reading level: X.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When fifteen-year-old Paul Shackleford is sent to live on a relative's isolated Virginia farm as punishment for lying and a lesson in character-building, his life is transformed. The unusual collection of people and a surly dog he meets there are still reeling from the death of a beloved farmhand, Hennley Gray. Soon Paul begins to hear talk about the presence of a ghost and then finds himself investigating the life and afterlife of the departed man, who seems to have a mysterious connection to Paul.In A Hole in the World, Sid Hite combines the rich Southern atmosphere of his Dither books with exquisite prose and a soulful story that will leave readers pondering long after the last page has been turned.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7farm. He lied for a friend, which led to legal trouble. Now, his father has sent him to a distant relative in central Virginia to work as a laborer. People in the small farming community keep remarking on his resemblance to a local who committed suicide the year before, and as the summer passes, Paul finds out more about the much-revered Hennley Gray and aspires to be like him. This is a quiet story, almost too quiet, and rather formal in its telling. Yet there are a number of things that will grab readers. There's a rumor that Gray's ghost haunts the countryside, and the dog Gray left behind forges a special relationship with Paul that is touching, almost mystical. Paul develops another relationship as well, with a girl his own age, which is more tentative but equally satisfying. A book for Hite's fans and also for readers willing to spend some time with the storytelling. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

As punishment for telling a lie, a 15-year-old boy is sent to work on a farm and is surprised by how quickly he grows fond of the people he meets there. "Ethereal aspects of the story add an aura of mystery, but it is the more down-to-earth lessons the boy learns about friendship and honesty that will resonate the longest," wrote PW. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-As a result of a lie he told to cover for a friend, 15-year-old Paul Shackleford is sent to spend the summer on the farm of distant relatives in rural Virginia. It seems more like banishment to Paul, an ordinarily good kid. At the farm, with a greeting nip at his hindquarters he is introduced to Einstein, a remarkable dog that will play a significant role in his summer. He learns that Einstein belonged to a former employee who committed suicide a year earlier as cancer gradually compromised his quality of life. Paul also comes to realize that Hennley was revered by all who knew him. Ada and Hargrove Vallencourt, as well as their hardworking crew, welcome Paul into their midst even as they initiate him into the intensity of farm labor. The teen holds his own, not only in terms of the physical labor, but also in blending with the vagaries of the various residents. He later reflects on the genuineness of the people here compared to his friends at home. Throughout the story, the possibility of a specter, that of Hennley Gray, intervenes. Paul and his new friend Rebecca later conclude that maybe they are all haunting Hennley's soul rather than the other way around. Hite has created a simple story that reflects on truth and the basic goodness of people. One of the novel's strengths is the wonderful give-and-take between Paul and his lawyer father. In an amusing turnabout, the young man attributes a summer's growth in maturity to his parents, rather than to himself. A good discussion starter.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Greensboro Montessori School, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.