When You Reach Me

when-you-reach-me

NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER – 2010

When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Age: 10+

Interests: mystery, time travel, friendship, school, romance, puzzles

Wendy Lamb Books/Random House: 2009

208 pages

Also by this author: First Light, Liar and Spy, Goodbye Stranger

New York City, 1978. Miranda is in the 6th grade and life has suddenly become very complicated: her best friend Sal is avoiding her and she doesn’t know why, her mom is preparing to appear on a trivia tv game show, she’s got a new part-time job at a neighbourhood deli and is exhibiting symptoms of her first romantic crush. However, the most unsettling complication is an anonymous note that says that her assistance is required to save someone’s life, and offers three predictions of the future that, shockingly, proceed to come true.

As Miranda attempts to untangle this puzzle, her day-to-day life continues. She makes friends with a boy named Marcus, who turns out to be a science whiz, and they talk about her favourite book A Wrinkle in Time. Marcus has some theories about time travel which Miranda finds hard to fathom. As more characters are drawn into the tale, the various threads of the plot intertwine and wend their way to the anticipated climax, in which one life is saved and another is lost. When it’s all over Miranda finally figures out who wrote the notes, and she begins the crucial task which makes the entire sequence of events possible: writing this book.

So many small details along the way add up beautifully to the revelations at the end. Besides being a very clever mystery, this novel has an immense amount of heart. It left me the same way Kate DiCamillo’s books do – ruminating over the events, liking the characters ever so much, and regarding humanity in general with a warm, fuzzy optimism. I highly recommend this book to anyone; it’s really a wonderful read!

 

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.