When You Reach Me

Title:  When You Reach Me                                           

Author:  Rebecca Stead

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction

Pages:  208

Ages:  10-14/ Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books

Awards: 2010 John Newberry Medal, ALA Notable Children’s Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year 2009, and others

Why Did I Choose It?  My son bought me When You Reach Me for Christmas.  He knows about my goal of wanting to read all of the Newberry Medal books and has helped me tremendously with several gifts J

  A Bit From The Back Cover:  “By Sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York neighborhood.  They know where it’s safe to go, and who to avoid.  Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel.  Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life.  The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen.  And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

                    I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.                                                                                                         

                    I ask two favors.  First, you must write me a letter.”

Review:  I found the first few pages confusing (of course, that could be the confused mind of a sleep-deprived, overwhelmed woman trying to accomplish too much and wear too many hats at a time) but after the first few, I was completely pulled into the story of Miranda, her friends and the mystery that began unraveling.   Told from the protagonists’ (Miranda’s) point of view, there are at least three major plot lines that, at first, seem totally unrelated but end up pulling together very nicely: Miranda’s mother preparing to be a guest on the $20,000 Pyramid (game show), the friendship between Miranda and Sal, and the homeless man on the corner. The book gave a sort of old-fashioned feel – or was that due to the mentioning of a favorite sci-fi book from childhood, A Wrinkle In Time, that Miranda is constantly re-reading?  I loved the mixture of mystery, science-fiction, and realistic fiction.   How all of these characters intertwine in one another’s life in the year 1979 is a remarkable story that is sure to be pleasing to a wide variety of youth.  I can certainly understand why it was chosen as a Newberry Winner…. It has a bit of something for everyone.  Be sure to check it out.  Happy Reading!

Other Books By This Author:  First Light, Liar and Spy