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The Boxes Hardcover – June 1, 1998


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Hardcover, June 1, 1998
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525460128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525460121
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,073,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like Pandora, 15-year-old orphan Annie has been given a box she is forbidden to open, opens it nonetheless and unleashes something horrible. But Sleator adds a twist: Annie has a second box. Moreover the telepathic crab-like beasts that came out of the first box may appear to be the evils of the world but turn out to be the protagonist's only hope for self-actualization. As in The Beasties, Sleator creates a community of strangely empathic monsters and a teenager who, when pressed into their service, discovers the mission isn't noxious but fulfilling. The creepy-crawlies worship a god/plant/clock that lives in the second box. They build a subterranean palace, order Annie about and enact enigmatic rites, saying things like: "The Lord will be very happy about the swing ritual, and the two more who are sacrificed to the Lord's goodness" (in reference to two creatures who are swung in a suspended boat and fall to their deaths). Unfortunately, a stereotypical crew of evil land developers and a less than compelling wizard figure (Annie's nearly absentee Uncle Marco) keep the tale on a superficial level. And readers may be disappointed in the ending, which sends Annie off on a cliffhanger of an adventure and never explains the process between creatures and clock, or Uncle Marco's role in it. Perhaps Sleator has a sequel in store; in the meantime, this is his signature high-style ick and suspense, but without sufficient payoff. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8AOrphan Anne Levi tolerates her distant Aunt Ruth, with whom she lives, but adores her mysterious Uncle Marco, who flits in and out of their lives at irregular intervals. When he gives Anne two unusual boxes with strict instructions not to open them, curiosity gets the better of her. Opening the first one, she releases an unusual crablike creature that grows and reproduces rapidly; the life form and its offspring construct a fantastic palace in the basement and communicate with Anne telepathically. Dismayed by what she has done, Anne opens the second box, which she had hidden in her closet, revealing a clocklike object that has the ability to slow down time at the basement creatures' request, but only when Anne agrees to carry messages between the creatures and the clock. Unfortunately, the owners of a suspicious development company are intrigued by the time slowdowns and increase their ominous efforts to control Anne, her home, and the strange devices within it. Through her adventures, Anne grows into a self-confident teenager who is able to stand up to her overbearing aunt and trust her own instincts. Reminiscent of the complexity of Sleator's early science fiction, The Boxes introduces intriguing characters and unique situations but it leaves many loose ends and unanswered questions. Readers never find out just who or what Uncle Marco is, where he and Anne go when they enter the palace at the end, or where the boxes came from in the first place. The Boxes may be popular with Sleator's fans, but be prepared for requests for a sequel.ASusan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 56 customer reviews
The Boxes is a good Sci-fi book and I gave it five stars.
bobo
Though the book was very well written, it just stopped toward the very end.
Cassie T.
This was the most amazing book I have ever read in my entire life!
Theresa D Robertson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
William Sleator is one of my favorite authors. Although this is not one of his best, I couldn't put it down. Annie is an orphan who is sent to live with her Aunt Ruth--not a very pleasant person. Annie's only bright days are spent with her Uncle Marco, when he returns from his frequent mysterious trips abroad. When Marco entrusts his niece with two mysterious boxes and the warning never to a) open them or b) put them in the same room, Annie's resolve to keep them safe lasts for only one day as her curiousity gets the better of her. Once the boxes are opened, there is no going back. This is not a book to read before you go to sleep! The ending was not as satisfying as his other books; it seems like Sleator left it open for a possible sequel. Well-drawn characters let you step right into the story! When will the movie-makers (e.g. Disney) see that Sleator's books would be great for the screen!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jc on November 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Before Uncle Marco goes on another of his constant trips, he leaves Annie two mysterious boxes. Like Pandora, she must keep them safe and never open them. But curiousity gets the better of her. Soon the unspeakable occurs. Grotesque, crablike creatures come out with the ability to communicate to Annie telepathically. Annie could never fathom the power they have. . .
This was a good book, partly, because I'm a fan of sci-fi/fantasy books. I couldn't put it down. There was a lot of action and cliffhangers near the end. You never knew what was going to happen next. The creatures and their customs were very creative. It's easy to read for all ages from kids to adults. The only problem was that it ended with a cliffhanger even though all of the problems have been solved by the protagonist.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Devin on March 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The boxes was an excellent book that I wold love to explain to others. I am giving this book a 4 out of 5 stars. This was a terrific science fiction book. The author wrote great detail on the creatures. Some examples from the book about the description of the creation were when Annie says, " I could see what it really looked like. I felt sick. And yet, even though I wanted to run from it, I couldn't. It legs, planted firmly on the floor. It was rubbing the front two legs totally diffferent personalities. For example, each of Annie's (main character) friends acts differently at things. William Sleator also explains how a money craving company, tries to get what they want if they cam't make a deal. For example on how thhe Crutchley Development Company can't get Annie's family to sell the house so they try to brake in the hose, and follow the family mambers. The book is about Annie, and how she opened the boxes that lead to the opening of a new life in which she has not seen. These new creatures aren't the prettiest things in the world and nicest. Thing that make Annies want to get help. I would do the same thing to. Her Uncle Marco told her not to open the boxs, but Annie thought that there was nothing bad in them, just an artifact or something. So she opened it. I think you whould to. As much as I think this book was good, the ending left you hanging. an example would be how did Annie save her house from being bought by the big company, and what happened to the creatures? The ending was pretty much stated badly. You can't have a perfect story and have a bad ending. It's just can't work. Besides that, it had a wonderful beginning and middle that entrenches you. I would really recommend this book to someone who wants to expand his or her mind or ideas.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "carolyn5000" on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Boxes" is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasty fare from my beloved W. Sleator. This book is a sort of reworking of Pandora's Box with some neat elements thrown in. A great book for elementary school kids, even has some sort of ethnocentrism type elements included. Entertaining!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Boxes By William Sleator

Uncle Marco is a middle-aged man. He has black hair and blue eyes, he's tall and skinny and disappears a lot. He goes on mysterious adventures to exotic places in the world. I like the way William Sleator imagines him, which I think is incredible.

At the beginning I thought that uncle Marco was going to be a boring character. Once I got more into the book I got more interested in him. It was like he was jumping out of the book to become a real person.

Uncle Marco is always in his own slowdown. That is when he watches the world change. It is the same thing that the little aliens do to get more work done for their ruler, who is a clock-like thing that takes little alien runts as a sacrifice. Uncle Marco goes into a slowdown to watch the earth change.

I cannot relate to this character. He is too old and mysterious. He gets this cool slowdown machine and I all I have is a Play Station 2, which is not as cool as that.

The Boxes is a great book for readers ages 9-12. I really loved it. It was so interesting that I couldn't stop reading it. William Sleator should make a sequel to The Boxes, that's how good it was. I really liked it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Read this book and then read Marco's Millions(the prequel). You must be saying prequels should be red before the sequels,right? Wrong. The Boxes is just one big question and it supplies no answers. MM goes back in time and in the process answers the question the boxes supply but in turn asks more questions. It isn't a great book but after reading MM you will be begging for more. But don't just skip to MM that's like to answer a test without the questions. Just read through it so you can get to the best sci-fi book of the 21st century.
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