Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton is similar to the Louis Sachar novel, Holes. Both are about a boy’s detention center run by cruel staff with ulterior motives. The difference is that Holes takes place in Texas where the boys are made to dig holes, while Kings is set on a Colorado ranch and the chores are taking care of and training mustangs.
For most of the book, William Sheppard is reminiscing about his two years at the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory – what brought him there at 13 years old, the friends and enemies he made and the horses he worked with. The story starts on a violent note with Will stabbing his stepfather, and escalates to the brutal ending scenes where Will and his friends are trying to survive in the woods. This book is not for the squeamish.
The ending is satisfying despite the losses the character suffered as a boy. The story is unforgettable.
Author’s website: http://davidehilton.com/
(Note: Advanced Reading Copy provided by Simon & Schuster)