Stanley Yelnats is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it's all thanks to his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. When a pair of shoes inexplicably fall on Stanley's head, it's the last straw: it turns out that they belong to the famous baseball player Clyde Livingston, who had donated them to the orphanage to be auctioned. In court, Stanley's "they fell out of the sky" reason sounds pretty lame to his own ears, and it does to the court judge, too. He gives Stanley and his parents a choice. Either Stanley serves time or he goes to Camp Green Lake. Stanley was never rich enough to go to camp, so of course, he picks CGL, but it turns out to be beyond his wildest dreams - in the worst way possible. Barely any water, scorching conditions, hostile campmates, selfish camp directors, and having to dig a six-by-six foot hole every day is nothing like the camps Stanley has heard of. But when a miraculous encounter with Zero, a fellow camper, shows that their family lines may have crossed before, Stanley's wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time curse has a chance to be lifted.