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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.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Chasing Vermeer in this clever middle grade debut
When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfathers painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. Thats great news for Theo, whos struggling to hang onto her familys two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfathers legacy of $463. Theres just one problem: Theos grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.
With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.
Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal
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.
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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