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1 Beaverton Children's- Newbery Award Winners
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When You Reach Me

by

When You Reach Me Cover

ISBN13: 9780385737425
ISBN10: 0385737424
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Excerpt

Things You Keep in a Box

So Mom got the postcard today. It says Congratulations in big curly letters, and at the very top is the address of Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street. After three years of trying, she has actually made it. She's going to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid, which is hosted by Dick Clark.

On the postcard there's a list of things to bring. She needs some extra clothes in case she wins and makes it to another show, where they pretend it's the next day even though they really tape five in one afternoon. Barrettes are optional, but she should definitely bring some with her. Unlike me, Mom has glossy red hair that bounces around and might obstruct America's view of her small freckled face.

And then there's the date she's supposed to show up, scrawled in blue pen on a line at the bottom of the card: April 27, 1979. Just like you said.

I check the box under my bed, which is where I've kept your notes these past few months. There it is, in your tiny handwriting: April 27th: Studio TV-15, the words all jerky-looking, like you wrote them on the subway. Your last "proof."

I still think about the letter you asked me to write. It nags at me, even though you're gone and there's no one to give it to anymore. Sometimes I work on it in my head, trying to map out the story you asked me to tell, about everything that happened this past fall and winter. It's all still there, like a movie I can watch when I want to. Which is never.

Things That Go Missing

Mom has swiped a big paper calendar from work and Scotch-taped the month of April to the kitchen wall. She used a fat green marker, also swiped from work, to draw a pyramid on April 27, with dollar signs and exclamation points all around it.

She went out and bought a fancy egg timer that can accurately measure a half minute. They don't have fancy egg timers in the supply closet at her office.

April twenty-seventh is also Richard's birthday. Mom wonders if that's a good omen. Richard is Mom's boyfriend. He and I are going to help Mom practice every single night, which is why I'm sitting at my desk instead of watching after-school TV, which is a birthright of every latchkey child. "Latchkey child" is a name for a kid with keys who hangs out alone after school until a grown-up gets home to make dinner. Mom hates that expression. She says it reminds her of dungeons, and must have been invented by someone strict and awful with an unlimited child-care budget. "Probably someone German," she says, glaring at Richard, who is German but not strict or awful.

It's possible. In Germany, Richard says, I would be one of the Schlusselkinder, which means "key children."

"You're lucky," he tells me. "Keys are power. Some of us have to come knocking." It's true that he doesn't have a key. Well, he has a key to his apartment, but not to ours.

Richard looks the way I picture guys on sailboats--tall, blond, and very tucked-in, even on weekends. Or maybe I picture guys on sailboats that way because Richard loves to sail. His legs are very long, and they don't really fit under our kitchen table, so he has to sit kind of sideways, with his knees pointing out toward the hall. He looks especially big next to Mom, who's short and so tiny she has to buy her belts in the kids' department and make an extra hole in her watchband so it won't fall off her arm.

Mom calls Richard Mr. Perfect because of how he looks and how he knows everything. And every time she calls him Mr. Perfect, Richard taps his right knee. He does that because his right leg is shorter than his left one. All his right-foot shoes have little platforms nailed to the bottom so that his legs match. In bare feet, he limps a little.

"You should be grateful for that leg," Mom tells him. "It's the only reason we let you come around." Richard has been "coming around" for almost two years now.

We have exactly twenty-one days to get Mom ready for the game show. So instead of watching television, I'm copying words for her practice session tonight. I write each word on one of the white index cards Mom swiped from work. When I have seven words, I bind the cards together with a rubber band she also swiped from work.

I hear Mom's key in the door and flip over my word piles so she can't peek.

"Miranda?" She clomps down the hall--she's on a clog kick lately--and sticks her head in my room. "Are you starving? I thought we'd hold dinner for Richard."

"I can wait." The truth is I've just eaten an entire bag of Cheez Doodles. After-school junk food is another fundamental right of the latchkey child. I'm sure this is true in Germany, too.

"You're sure you're not hungry? Want me to cut up an apple for you?"

"What's a kind of German junk food?" I ask her. "Wiener crispies?"

She stares at me. "I have no idea. Why do you ask?"

"No reason."

"Do you want the apple or not?"

"No, and get out of here--I'm doing the words for later."

"Great." She smiles and reaches into her coat pocket. "Catch." She lobs something toward me, and I grab what turns out to be a bundle of brand-new markers in rainbow colors, held together with a fat rubber band. She clomps back toward the kitchen.

Richard and I figured out a while ago that the more stuff Mom swipes from the office supply closet, the more she's hating work. I look at the markers for a second and then get back to my word piles.

Mom has to win this money.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

just chris, January 28, 2010 (view all comments by just chris)
If you are a fan of Madeline L'Engle, I don't see how you couldn't fall in love with this book. It's about a 12-year old girl who lives in NYC in the late 1970's who gets a mysterious note that changes everything. See if you can figure it out before it ends. I couldn't put this book down until I finished it.
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(9 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
Elliott, January 18, 2010 (view all comments by Elliott)
One of my all time favorite books is Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and now I've found another book that belongs on the shelf right next to it: When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead weaves fantasy and science fiction into her story seamlessly without detracting from the realism. One of the best books of 2009.
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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
Larry Robinson, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by Larry Robinson)
It might be a young adult book, but this is one of the best books I read in 2009. The characters may be in their early teens, but the story is pertinent to all of us. A very, very good book.
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(8 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385737425
Author:
Stead, Rebecca
Publisher:
Wendy Lamb Books
Author:
Graff, Lisa
Author:
Fitzgerald, Laura Marx
Author:
Bauer, Joan
Subject:
History
Subject:
Space and time
Subject:
Family - General
Subject:
Social Issues - Friendship
Subject:
Lifestyles - City & Town Life
Subject:
New York (N.Y.) History 1951-
Subject:
Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Children s Middle Readers-General
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20090731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 5
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
09-14

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When You Reach Me Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Wendy Lamb Books - English 9780385737425 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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
"Synopsis" by , From the author of First Light comes this engaging novel in which four mysterious letters change a young girl's world forever.
"Synopsis" by ,
The unofficial town motto is "Nothing bad ever happens in Rosemont" where  twelve-year-old Anna has come to stay with her grandmother, Mim, hoping to forget her worries about her parents' troubled marriage.  She'll be busy with the town's annual Flower Festival, a celebration with floats and bands that requires weeks of preparations.

But before long, Anna finds herself involved in a very big problem. When she observes a girl her own age who seems to be being held against her will, Anna can't forget the girl's frightened eyes and she is determined to investigate. "When you see something, say something" she's been told—but what good does it do to speak if no one will listen? Luckily, a take-charge girl like Anna is not going to give up.

Told with Joan Bauer's trademark mixture of humor and heart, Tell Me will enthrall her many fans and win her new ones.

"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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