Book Review: When You Reach Me

WhenYouReachMeAuthor: Rebecca Stead

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books, 2009

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Award Won: Newberry Medal Winner, 2010

My Rating: A

Miranda is a twelve-year-old girl in New York City in the 1970s. She loves to read. Her favorite book is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. She loves it so much that she carries it with her wherever she goes and keeps reading it over and over.

Miranda is pretty sure Time Travel, like in the book, isn’t possible but, a few things happen that are rather mysterious. She gets a series of notes, a key goes missing, and someone seems to know some things about her that happen in the future. (Mysterious but not creepy.)

The story is about more than Miranda’s mystery. One of her long-time friend doesn’t want to hang out anymore but, she makes some new friends. It seems the usual sixth-grade stuff but there’s also a new kid in school who challenges her thought processes. There’s also a crazy homeless guy on the corner.

There’s also her single-mom’s obsession with becoming a contestant on the $20,000 Pyramid. Every night Miranda quizzes her mom with word clues just like on the real show. Miranda wants her to be ready for a try-out. She has secret plans for what to do with the money when her mom wins big.

I read this story via an excellent audiobook version. It was read very convincingly by Cynthia Holloway. I enjoyed being inside Miranda’s world for about five hours. All the various parts of Miranda’s story were nicely woven together. It definitely made me want to go back and re-read A Wrinkle in Time.

I read When You Reach Me because I really like the Newberry Medal winners. The committee members at the American Library Association (ALA) that select the Newberrys sure know how to pick great stories. I strongly recommend this book and the other Newberry Medal winners. They’re not just for children. Ask your librarian about them or check out the ALA’s website here: Newberry Medal and Honor Books

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5 Responses to Book Review: When You Reach Me

  1. Ti says:

    You know, I thought I had read this one but I don’t think so. I may have read another book by the same author. I do not that I heard an interview with her on BookWorm and she was really interesting to listen to.

  2. It sounds like this one the Newbery for good reason! Now I wish I had it on audio.

  3. Beth F says:

    I loved the one Stead I listened to — I’m adding this to the list.

  4. Staci says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this one, especially because it’s on my middle school library shelves. I wish I could say that I liked Wrinkle in Time, but alas, I can not. However, I’m sure that won’t interfere with my enjoyment of this one!

  5. Louise says:

    I read this three years ago, on a jet lagged late night. I loved it too. I really enjoy Newberry winners, and this was a perfect example of a book I wouldn’t have found otherwise. It’s good to see it’s still being read and appreciated. I’ve been toying with the idea of rereading it, but just can’t find the time.

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