Money to Burn.
E. M. Goldman.
Grades 5 - 9 / Ages 10 - 14.
Money to Burn is a sure-fire winner for school libraries, and should particularly appeal to boys, with an exciting plot, humorous characters, plenty of suspense, and non-stop action. Matt and Lewis are two thirteen-year old boys living on a small island off the British Columbia coast. School is just out for the summer and the boys face two long months of boredom since they have no money to go anywhere and no prospect of getting jobs to earn any. Then they discover a suitcase full of money, at the same time as an unidentified stranger drops dead near the town golf course, and police are looking for a known drug dealer.
The boys decide that the money almost certainly belonged to the dead man and that he must have been the wanted drug dealer. They argue that they can keep the money as it wasn't obtained legitimately anyway, so they don't reveal their find. But when they try to decide how to spend the money they realize they cannot spend money without arousing suspicion.
Matt and Lewis come up with a novel way to solve this problem and to be able to go on every young person's dream spending spree as a result. They come back to earth, however, when a mafia associate of the drug dealer comes looking for the money and traces it to the boys. They also realize that the money has come close to destroying their friendship.
In the following passage Matt and Lewis come to some new understanding of what the money has meant to them:
Lewis snorted.E. M. Goldman, is the author of a young adult novel called Detective, Tenth Grade and a play, The Perils of Cinderella or, The Vampire's Bride. Like her fictional characters, she lives on a small island off the B.C. coast.
"We have what we want. If the rest of this money is going to get us into trouble, we don't need it anymore."
"Speak for yourself!" Louis yelled "You've always had everything."
They stared at each other.
Lewis' voice lowered "I never in my whole life had a new bike. Not once. You always did."
"I didn't know it bugged you."
"Yeah," said Louis. He began looking around the room again, searching for any evidence left behind "Well, neither did I."
Helen Norrie taught for 18 years as a teacher-librarian in a number of Winnipeg schools. She is teaching a course in Children's Literature at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in the winter term, 1997. She writes a regular monthly column on children's books for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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