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When You Reach Meby Rebecca Stead
Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal
My first thought when I closed the covers of this book was, Wow. My second thought was, I want to read this again. My third thought was, How can I possibly describe this book to anyone else? When You Reach Me is like one of those great books/movies/albums where it's truly best if you know as little as possible before you start reading. I will say this: if you love A Wrinkle in Time, New York neighborhood stories, coming-of-age novels, or if you're scientifically inclined, and, most importantly, adore untangling threads of a mystery, you will fall in love with this book. Perfect for middle-schoolers.
Synopses & Reviews
Four mysterious letters change Miranda's world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.
From Our Staff:
When You Reach Me is lots of different things, but mostly it's the best book we've read all year. And it will be the best book you've read all year. It's part mystery, part sci-fi, part realistic fiction with intertwined stories expertly told. The writing is graceful, and the story is the kind that you won't want to put down until it's done. The revelations at the end are satisfying, but in that bittersweet way since it means that the book is over. Get it before it becomes Newbery Winner 2010 (we predict)!
Virtually the Entire Kid's Team.
"Twelve-year-old Miranda, a latchkey kid whose single mother is a law school dropout, narrates this complex novel, a work of science fiction grounded in the nitty-gritty of Manhattan life in the late 1970s. Miranda's story is set in motion by the appearance of cryptic notes that suggest that someone is watching her and that they know things about her life that have not yet happened. She's especially freaked out by one that reads: 'I'm coming to save your friend's life, and my own.' Over the course of her sixth-grade year, Miranda details three distinct plot threads: her mother's upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid; the sudden rupture of Miranda's lifelong friendship with neighbor Sal; and the unsettling appearance of a deranged homeless person dubbed 'the laughing man.' Eventually and improbably, these strands converge to form a thought-provoking whole. Stead (First Light) accomplishes this by making every detail count, including Miranda's name, her hobby of knot tying and her favorite book, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. Ages 9 — 14. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The '70s New York setting is an honest reverberation of the era; the mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children and adults, are honest bits of humanity....Just as Miranda rereads L'Engle, children will return to this." Booklist (starred review)
"Closing revelations are startling and satisfying but quietly made, their reverberations giving plenty of impetus for the reader to go back to the beginning and catch what was missed." Horn Book Magazine
"[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow... cool.'" --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
From the author of First Light comes this engaging novel in which four mysterious letters change a young girl's world forever.
Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinsonandrsquo;s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.
With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.
Praise for Hope is a Ferris Wheel
andquot;Herreraandrsquo;s first novel is quite accomplished, with plenty of heart and humor, especially apparent in the spelling assignments Star has to complete but refuses to turn in, as she uses them as a sort of journal. Star is a unique, determined, and loving child making the best of a bad situation; readers cannot help but root for her.andquot;
--School Library Journal, starred review
andquot;Well-constructed, thought-provoking and appealing, this first effort bodes well for the authorandrsquo;s future.andquot;
andquot;In her debut, Herrera has created a delightful narrator with a memorable voice and surrounded her with a unique supporting cast. Got fans of Joan Bauer in your neck of the woods? Send them this way.andquot;
andquot;A tender and truthful novel that addresses stereotypes without promising easy answers or cookie-cutter closure.andquot;
andquot;First-time author Herrera, telling the story from Starandrsquo;s point of view, gives readers a front-row seat to all the embarrassment and angst of Starandrsquo;s jumbled lifeandmdash;and all of the triumphs. Hereandrsquo;s hoping we hear more from this author.andquot;
--The Horn Book Magazine
andquot;Starandrsquo;s contemplation, through poetic metaphors and real-life relationships, of what really matters in her life is compelling. Additionally, the poetry angle offers food for thought for those just coming to understand the power and purpose of metaphor, and Starandrsquo;s vocabulary assignments, occasionally interspersed between chapters, provide inspiration and entertainment for word-lovers.andquot;
--Bulletin of the Center for Childrenandrsquo;s Books
Ingrid Law delivers a magical story about the power of friendship, the meaning of family, and embracing individuality, perfect for fans of A Snicker of Magic and Three Times Lucky.
Gypsy Beaumont has always been a whirly-twirly free spirit, so as her thirteenth birthday approaches, she hopes to get a magical ability that will let her fly, or dance up to the stars. Instead, she wakes up on her birthday with blurry vision . . . and starts seeing flashes of the future and past. But when Momma and Poppa announce that her very un-magical, downright mean Grandma Pat has Alzheimers and is going to move in with them, Gypsys savvy—along with her familys—suddenly becomes its opposite. Now its savvy mayhem as Gypsy starts freezing time, and no one could have predicted what would happen on their trip to bring Grandma Pat home . . . not even Gypsy.
With her trademark style and whimsical, beautiful language, Ingrid Law has written another wonderfully moving companion to her Newbury Honor winning Savvy.
About the Author
Rebecca Stead is the author of First Light. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two sons.
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