Stanley was sitting about ten rows back, handcuffed to his armrest. His backpack lay on the seat next to him. It contained his toothbrush, toothpaste, and a box of stationery his mother had given him. He’d promised to write to her at least once a week.This is apparently a classic of recent vintage, having won the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 1999 Newbery Medal. I must say I'm not at all convinced that it will have the staying power of, say, A Wrinkle In Time. It's a sweet story about a 14-year-old who is found guilty of a crime he didn't commit, and finds himself incidentally righting ancient family wrongs while carrying out his sentence of digging holes in a dried lake bed. You won't learn much about the American penal system, Latvia, or geology from this; you'll probably be mildly entertained.
This was the most popular book on my shelves that I have not reviewed online. Next on that list is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.