In New York City in the late 1970s, twelve-year-old Miranda lives with her vibrant but sometimes childish and frustrated mother in a rundown apartment building in a lower class neighborhood. When Sal, her best friend since infancy, suddenly no longer wants to be friends with Miranda, new friends Annemarie, Colin and Marcus enter her life. At the same time, worrisome notes from a stranger are left for Miranda in odd places. The notes warn that the life of one of Miranda’s friends is in danger and state that the writer of the notes needs her help. Slowly, as the pieces of the mystery come together, Miranda also matures and learns more about the people around her.
The winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal, When You Reach Me contains an absorbing plot of mystery and time travel woven with friendship that captivates the reader. Students with cunning and eager minds will enjoy trying to unravel the mystery before the end of the book. Stead’s use of Miranda’s first person point of view is quirky and lively, and seeing the events unfold through Miranda’s eyes helps to guide the reader through what could be a complicated timeline of events. Young fans of energetic mysteries such as Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game or sci-fi adventures like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle will want to get their hands on Stead’s When You Reach Me. If your library has a collection for older elementary and younger middle school students, this is a book that you will want on your shelves.
Who knew that it would be a twelve-year old girl in 1978 who figures out the nuances of time travel? That’s not to say she’s figures out how to actually travel time herself, but she at least discovers all of its little quirks. That’s just one of the many surprises readers are in store for in Rebecca Stead’s “When You Reach Me.”
“When You Reach Me” follows sixth grader Miranda as she details a story that she has been asked to tell from mysterious notes she is receiving from an unknown sender. At first it sounds like there’s potentially some creep who would be perfect for “To Catch a Predator” that is stalking the spunky girl. As events unfold, it seems that this mysterious sender knows an awful lot about events that will happen in the future. With the knowledge she has accrued from her favorite book “A Wrinkle in Time,” Miranda starts to think that maybe this mysterious note man has travelled back in time to stop a horrible event from happening.
The best part of Stead’s writing is that even though there is this ever-present potential for a big sci-fi twist, you are equally as invested in seeing how her characters will grow while wondering if time travel really does play a part in the whole story. Miranda has to deal with many grown-up themes, like racism, mental illness, the loss of a parent, the loss of a friend, and the differences between boys and girls, but she handles them all graciously without ever needing a time machine of her own to make time to learn this multitude of life lessons.
Mysterious sci-fi twist that you're never sure will play out or not.
Heartwarming lessons for young and old readers.
Great homage to a classic piece of YA literature.
So, I wasn't expecting what I got when I finished the first chapter of this book. It's about time travel! I hadn't read anything about that before this book.
It was really slow for me, but I continued reading because I wanted to find out what these notes and clues were about.
I found this book to be slow, but I kept at it and just loved the ending. I figured it out about the same time as the main character. The twist is something that I didn't see coming, which made it all the better. I think this would be a great book to re-read now that I know what happens.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is a phenomenal book! It is about a girl that gets strange letters and she is determined to find out who they are coming from. The letters that she gets say really strange things, for example one said, "A Black Boot under a mailbox." This story takes place in a cold winter in New York City. Some important characters are "The Crazy Guy by the corner,"Miranda, and her best friend Sal who is a boy. They both are in sixth grade. Rebecca Stead did a wonderful job at adding loads of suspense. Rebecca Stead did not do a outstanding job of description. She should have described the characters and the setting better so that we could have pictured them and it in our minds. The moral of this book is problem solving which is a good lesson to learn. This book is for children eight years and up. I give the book five stars!
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 New York City
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.