MARCO’S MILLIONS by William Sleator


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Another page-turner from the author of such classic science fiction as House of Stairs (1974) and Interstellar Pig (1984). In this prequel to Boxes (1998), Sleator introduces 12-year-old Marco, 11-year-old Lilly, and 7-year-old Ruth (the Aunt Ruth of Boxes). They live with their parents in a big, shabby old house with a basement full of interesting things, including a tunnel into a parallel universe. The supercilious, beetle-like inhabitants of that world convince Marco and Lilly that all universes are threatened with destruction unless Lilly, who is the “medium,” saves them. Since Lilly’s life is constricted by having to baby-sit for Ruth, a whiny and demanding tattletale, she is housebound. Marco goes to the rescue, which entails taming an out-of-control singularity. There is a subplot about the children’s Aunt Martha that explains the family’s lack of money and the crisis with the singularity. Plot drives this novel; indeed, the fast-forward action will keep readers involved to the end. The main characters are surprisingly real: Marco the explorer, Lilly the sensitive, who knows the unknowable, and Ruth, the selfish baby of the family. Some of the minor characters are less distinct; the parents are shadowy; and Marco’s friend, Nat, is clearly a plot device. Scientific information could have been conveyed better and there is a little too much telling and not enough show. Even so, a very entertaining read. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46441-7
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2001


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