The writing style in this book is simple, clear and straightforward, which makes it easy to understand and to follow the story. The plot in combination with the writing style is accessible for the young reader; by choosing characters who are probably around the same age as the reader, the author makes the plot more immediate and compelling.
Both the chapters and the sentences are short, which aids in comprehension. “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. There once was a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas. That was over a hundred years ago. Now it´s just a dry, flat wasteland” (Sachar 3). Some sentences contain only one word such as “usually” or “always” (4) or a few more words and they tend to be used repetitively.
The sentences are not embellished: they tend to simply describe the action, without providing many colored words that could provide extra information about the characters’ thoughts or emotions. “He dug his shovel into the dirt” (Sachar 59). The author does not tell how Stanley feels while working hard or what he is thinking.
When Zero hits the counselor’s face, this is also described in a very matter of fact way: “Zero took the shovel. Then he swung it like a baseball bat. The metal blade smashed across Mr. Pendanski´s face” (139). Again, the author does not describe Zero´s feelings, his facial expression, or his thoughts. We also notice a general lack of adverbs or adjectives that could also offer more insight. We are simply provided with the order of events and can make our own assumptions about what is going on inside Zero. We are given room to come up with our own interpretation.
Since there are three stories told within the book which all belong together and the author switches between past and present, the reader is confronted with pieces of a puzzle-like story. In the end, all pieces put together result in the perfect happy ending. This type of narrative creates tension as the reader has to figure out how different plot elements and characters are connected. Almost every chapter provides new adventurous stories about Stanley or the Camp; therefore, the book captures the reader´s attention over and over. There are physical confrontations and dangerous encounters around every turn.
Camp Green Lake is described in desolate, depressing terms. We witness the fundamental injustice of the camp with its arbitrary, unfair punishment, and the general lack of empathy of its warden and counselors, who show disinterest at Zero’s running away. The lack of extensive or deep descriptions about the feelings and thoughts of the characters makes the short descriptions that are given even more emphatic; we have the impression that the situation simply is this way, that it cannot change. And the writing style, with its general lack of commentary, highlights the reader’s sense of hopelessness. Naturally, this makes the heroic adventure of Stanley and Zero all the more exciting because finally something is changing: justice can be achieved.