A few weeks ago a friend recommended I read When You
Reach Me after I told her I had just finished re-reading A Wrinkle in
Time. She told me nothing about the plot only that there was a connection
to A Wrinkle in Time and that it was amazing. I didn't read the back or
anything else about the book, so I really had no idea what it would be about.
After reading about 10 pages I was totally in to it. She was right it was
Four mysterious letters change Mirandas world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their
neighborhood. They know where its 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
Mirandas 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 friends 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 havent 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 shes too late. From Rebecca
I absolutely loved this book; read it in about two sittings. Everything about
it works. The plot may seem a bit confusing and scattered in the beginning, but
once you reach the end everything falls into place perfectly.
When You Reach Me is one of the best middle grade books I've read. Stead
is very aware of what that age group is looking for and will relate to.
Miranda's voice is definitely that of a twelve year old; her actions, thoughts,
and concerns are all ones 10-13 year olds can easily relate to. The romance
elements are minimal and only hit on first kisses; friendship and growing apart
is the major focus. Both of which are perfectly appropriate for middle grade.
Beyond truly knowing her audience, Stead's writing itself is smart. It's
interesting from the first line to the last. The book's pretty short, only
about 200 pages, but Stead packs every page with important details that all
come together at the end of the book. The book is packed with odd, fantastical
elements which all must stay consistent throughout the book and come together
to make sense in the end. Stead does an amazing job of this.
This book most certainly deserved to win the Newberry Award.
Get this book immediately and begin reading