A boy who dreams of having a luxury department store at his disposal discovers that the dream is more real than the store; a boy who resents his father's fondness for lame ducks and casual living decides that rebellion is "a doorway and not a destination": one boy, two variously likely stories, a dubious connection. Alcott-Simpson's is fourteen-year-old Dion's separate world; when strange things begin happening--a pet shop lizard in the dressing room, a toy galleon in the goldfish pool, a young girl who appears and disappears wearing "borrowed" finery--his curiosity takes him to Madame Stregovitch, in Cosmetics, who warns him not to ask too many questions. Why is somehow related to the girl. Sara--she haunts the store with "the others" and soon, half-child and half-woman, haunts him. Then there's the apartment he shares with his father and the college boys from upstairs and the children from downstairs and Dad's music students--all of them owe Dad money, and meals are mostly communal spaghetti, and some day Dion will leave it all for a job at Alcott-Simpson's. Except that the store, deserted by its frightened staff, closes....Sara is Rima in Courregos boots and Madame Stregovitch is a benevolent Rasputin--it was she who, by her psychic powers, summoned Sara and the other spirits of starving children to share the largesse; but Alton's Simpson's is just right and so is the sparring between Dion and his Dad. Probably this will get across to girls more readily than to boys because they want to believe; underneath there is something to believe in.