Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire



It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$4.95
List price: $6.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Burnside Children's- Newbery Award Winners
2 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- Newbery Award Winners

Other titles in the Yearling Newbery series:

When You Reach Me

by

When You Reach Me Cover

 

 

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, January 14, 2014 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
Miranda lives with her mom in a New York City apartment. In sixth grade, she and her friend Sal, who lives below her, have earned their parents' trust enough to navigate their neighborhood on their own. Together they learn to avoid the group of boys that hang out in front of the old garage and the mentally ill homeless man who habituates the corner by their homes.

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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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!!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375850868
Author:
Stead, Rebecca
Publisher:
Yearling Books
Author:
Berlin, Eric
Subject:
Family - General
Subject:
Lifestyles - City & Town Life
Subject:
Social Issues - Friendship
Subject:
Children s-General
Subject:
Situations / General
Subject:
Children s Middle Readers-General
Subject:
Interactive Adventures
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20101231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 4 up to 9
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
27.75 x 10.5 x 6 in 6 lb
Age Level:
09-14

Other books you might like

  1. The House in the Night
    Used Hardcover $9.00
  2. The Tourist Used Trade Paper $7.50
  3. How Soccer Explains the World: An... Used Trade Paper $5.50
  4. Lamentations of the Father: Essays Used Trade Paper $7.50
  5. Scalped, Volume 4: The Gravel in... Used Trade Paper $10.50
  6. California Studies in Food and... Used Trade Paper $15.00

Related Subjects


Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Awards » Oregon Reader's Choice Award
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Oregon Battle of the Books
Children's » Situations » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners

When You Reach Me Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Yearling Books - English 9780375850868 Reviews:
"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.'"
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."
"Review" by , "Readers...are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."
"Review" by , "Smart and mesmerizing."
"Synopsis" by ,
For fans of The Westing Game and The 39 Clues, a third exciting Winston Breen adventure!
Winston Breen and his friends Mal and Jake accompany Mr. Penrose for a weekend of puzzles and games at the mansion of a famous musician. Over the course of the weekend, some guests’ prizes and belongings inexplicably disappear. As the group continues with the elaborate puzzles—which the reader is invited to solve too—some of the guests try to figure out who is stealing things, and others become suspects. But in the end it’s Winston who stumbles upon several clues, and eventually discovers the real culprit. A fast-paced whodunit, this latest Winston Beren installment will have readers hooked!
"Synopsis" by , Includes 6 copies of Liar & Spy (HC/9780385737432) and 3 copies of When You Reach Me (DG/9780375850868)
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.