Post by Ashley
My take: A fun and interesting but vaguely disappointing companion novel to the mega-best-seller, Holes, by Louis Sachar. Because it was the companion novel, I had certain assumptions going in. I assumed, for instance, that, like Holes, Small Steps would consist of a bunch of different plot threads that seemed totally unrelated but that tied together at the end of the book in a surprising, ingenious, and just-plain really fun way. So as I was reading (well, listening in my car, actually), I kept subconsciously snagging onto different seemingly unimportant plot details, thinking they'd end up being part of a big woven puzzle to be solved at the end. Turns out, they were just unimportant plot details.
However, notwithstanding my minor disappointment, I did enjoy the story. We get to follow Armpit's post-Camp Greenlake story---how he gets a job and goes back to school, determined to get back on his feet and make something of his life, despite his semi-well-intentioned friend X-Ray's money-making schemes that almost lead to his second run-in with the law. It's a well-developed story and mostly believable. I just wish I'd gone into it knowing what (not) to expect.