The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

The Wells Bequest

Written by Polly Shulman

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It was an evening like any other for Leo Novikov. That is until a miniature version of himself appears before his eyes ...from the future! Not only that, he's riding on some kind of weird machine, with his arms wrapped around the hottest girl he's ever laid eyes on! He heads off to the New York Circulating Material Repository to do some research and meets Jaya, the girl from the future. Together they embark on a dangerous mission to save New York City ...a mission that will take them to the other side of the world, and to the other side of time.

A thrilling time-travel adventure that takes readers from modern-day Manhattan, across the world, and back to the time of Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain in the nineteenth century. Perfect to get young readers excited about science and inventing.


The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

The Wednesday when the whole time-travel adventure began, I was fiddling with my game controller, trying to make the shoot button more sensitive.

Science is a big deal in Leo Novikov’s family. His Dad is the chief technology officer at a big media software company, his Mum is a cognitive neuroscientist, his brother Dmitri is a physics major, and his sister Sofia is training to be an immunooncologist. So Leo just has to come up with a good science fair project to prove he isn’t the family dunce!
When his science teacher suggests that Leo seek inspiration at the New York Circulating Material Repository, he discovers a weird and wonderful library that lends out objects instead of books. He meets the most awesome girl in the universe, Jaya, and together they explore the Wells Bequest, a special science fiction collection hidden away in the basement.

When they find HG Wells’ broken time machine among the objects in the Wells Bequest, they set out to fix it. But they are not the only ones who are aware of the machine’s existence, and they soon get swept up in a race to save it from falling into the wrong hands–a race that takes them across the world and back through time.

The Wells Bequest is a companion novel to Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy, for which the film option has already been sold to DreamWorks.


“Shulman once again crafts a marvelously engaging story that will have fantasy and sci-fi readers hooked… The adventure, danger, and hints of romance will have readers swiftly turning pages, anxious to discover each new surprise. All libraries serving middle-school readers will want to order this one.” Jessica Miller, School Library Journal

“Hilarious time-travel dialogue keeps the mood light… In this exhilarating Repository, even the library-cataloguing system is juicy. A clever, sparky adventure made of science fiction, philosophy and humor.” Kirkus, starred review

“The inside-out plot construction is ably handled, ... but the standout feature of this novel is the character of Leo, whose enquiring mind and technical know-how, and whose unique relationship with self-confident Jaya, will draw readers into the science-fiction-made-real landscape.” Anita L. Burkam, The Horn Book

About the Author

Polly Shulman

Polly Shulman has written about edible jellyfish, Egyptian tombs, infinity, blind dates, books, brains, centenarians, circuses, and cinematic versions of Jane Austen novels, for The New York Times, Discover, Newsday, Salon, Slate, Scientific American, Archaeology, and The Village Voice, among others. She edits news stories about fossils, meteors, the ocean, the weather, and the planets for Science magazine. She collects Victorian jewelry made of human hair, puts cayenne pepper in her chocolate cookies, and reads forgotten books with frontispieces.

She is an alumna of Hunter College High School, Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, and Yale University, where she majored in math. She has never dared to crash a dance, but in tenth grade she did write a proof for math class in the form of a sonnet. She grew up in New York City, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Nahem, and their parakeet, Olive.

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Book Info


288 pages


Polly Shulman
More books by Polly Shulman

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

5th September 2013




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