That’s where When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead starts, but from there the narrative builds into a puzzle, where Miranda gets notes from someone who seems to know a lot about her and her friends. The notes ask her to write down a story, to be delivered at some point in the future. They say the story hasn’t happened yet, but she’ll know when it does.
Miranda can feel change in the air. Her first inkling of it was when her friend Sal got punched by a kid for an unknown reason, and then Sal started to withdraw from their friendship. Another clue was her budding friendship with Colin and Annemarie, who she starts to hang out with at lunch. The three of them work together at a local deli to earn sandwiches. Then Miranda gets to know Marcus, the kid who punched Sal. He’s older and really nice other than the punch, and he seems fascinated with the possibility of time travel, a topic that confuses her.
As the puzzle of the notes builds, Miranda learns a lot about making and keeping friends and speaking up when there’s a problem to be solved. It’s difficult to say too much about When You Reach Me without giving away the mystery of the notes, but I felt Miranda’s story reveals a lot about the tenacity of the human spirit, the tenderness of love, and the timelessness of friendship. This small book unfolds seamlessly while giving readers a lot to think about. By the end, you may find yourself rereading passages that contained clues along the way to get the full impact. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book club with girls ages 9 to 13.
SAMills, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by SAMills)
Rebecca Stead is stupendous at creating the gentle and wrenching dynamics of pre-teen relationships. There is so much realness to them, even though the characters do not always have the language to name the significance of this story told in subtle moments. Stead is the strongest teller of the complexity, beauty and hurt held in young people's relationships I have come across. That she catches all of this in a story of mystery and intrigue that keeps you guessing is a bonus. This year I read this book out loud to a dozen 12 year old girls, and it was adored. It is also fantastic for adults wanting to re-emerge themselves in a good story and the world of a young person.
books4ever, February 12, 2012 (view all comments by books4ever)
This book was incredibly delightful to the very end. Not only is the writing obviously talented and unique, but the entire plot is brimming with creativity. I was hooked as soon as I read the first line, and the suspense never ended! Although this book is about two hundred pages and you could easily finish it in a day, the topic, and the meaningful messages that it relays to you, is unforgettable and has been with me ever since I opened that book up. I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter what genres you enjoy, because this book is absolutely worth it!!
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auntebook, January 25, 2012 (view all comments by auntebook)
I read a lot of YA literature and this book really made an impression on me. Not only does it mention (and pay homage to "A wrinkle in time," but the story continues to intrigue all the way to the end. I later found out that When you reach me is a Newberry award winning book about a young lady named Miranda, who loses her best friend and then starts finding notes with no signature. She tries to figure out the mystery of the messages while avoiding a crazy man on her street. A wonderful book to share.
OregonKali, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by OregonKali)
One of the best young adult or children's books I have read since I was in fact a young adult. A step back to what young adult writing used to be, with intelligent, in depth characters, set in a city full of flavor in a time since past, and an intriguing plot that hinges on the brink of being magical. Stead manages to bring in the reader to the point that no detail is missed and the reader's belief in and ability to identify with the characters comes easily.
Not only does it entertain but it reminds us of a time where kids had free roam of neighborhoods, interacted with their surroundings without supervision, valued the true meaning of friendship and learned lessons through their own adventures. A beautiful and freeing book for all ages.
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by Kirkus (Starred Review),
"[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.'"
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest."
by School Library Journal (Starred Review),
"This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."
by The Wall Street Journal,
"Readers...are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."
by The New York Time Book Review,
"Smart and mesmerizing."
From two-time Newbery honoree and Printz honoree, Gary D. Schmidt, comes a tale of high fantasy, where a peaceful civilization of a faraway planet has been besieged by a dark lord, and in a desperate attempt for survival send their most precious gift across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion lighted stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
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.
Uniquely readable, entirely charming, and a pleasure from start to finish. Debuts this good are meant to be discovered.” —SLJ Fuse 8 Blog
Riveting from start to finish.” —BookPage
The Valorim are about to fall to a dark lord when they send a necklace containing their planet across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Mass. Mourning his late mother, Tommy doesn't notice much about the chain he found, but soon he is drawing the twin suns and humming the music of a hanorah. As Tommy absorbs the art and language of the Valorim, their enemies target him. When a creature begins ransacking Plymouth in search of the chain, Tommy learns he must protect his family from villains far worse than he's ever imagined.
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