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When You Reach Me

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  54,306 ratings  ·  8,062 reviews
Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s 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 ne
ebook, 200 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Splodygirl You might try the Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L'Engle - the first of which is mentioned throughout this book. It's an excellent series. Also,…moreYou might try the Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L'Engle - the first of which is mentioned throughout this book. It's an excellent series. Also, one of the things I used to recommend to parents and grandparents who were trying to encourage reading was to look into anthologies geared towards the YA audience. There are several great ones out there. Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling have a series of fantastic anthologies that start with, I believe, The Faery Reel. I like anthologies because it's sometimes easier to get kids reading a short story than a longer book, and anthologies can expose people to a wide variety of authors, helping them to find new authors to follow.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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a super short review, karenstyle!!

someday, i am going to venture down to the second floor where the kids/teen section is and i am going to grab a whole bunch of books that i like and i am going to just shelve them in my adult fiction section because the young'uns shouldn't get to hog everything that is good in this world and also not have to pay rent, and there is something creepy about a 35 year old man browsing the shelves in teen fiction.* i am doing everyone a favor here.

this book is great.
Aj the Ravenous Reader

I know now that if I want to be completely surprised, I just have to read middle school books. Ironically, books for kids seem to have the most profound meanings. This book is sunshine and sunset combined- beautiful and heartbreaking.

Coincidentally, I just read a sci-fi story about time travel before this. It was technically well explained but I don’t know why I wasn’t so impressed. This adorable little book talks about time travel too and is absolutely enthralling. It didn’t have to try so har
One of the most impressive things to me about middle grade literature is how much power their books can punch with so little pages. It still astounds me. As older people I guess we tend to over explain and over analyze. Thank goodness there are authors that can still capture the feel of being a kid growing up and how simultaneously painful and wonderful it can be.

Miranda is a sixth grader who lives in New York City. Her life seems pretty normal. She has a best friend named Sal but that all chang
Lisa Vegan
Apr 06, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A Wrinkle in Time fans; 9 to adult; those who enjoy time travel, NYC, 1979, 12 yr old girls
First I have to say that A Wrinkle in Time has been my favorite or among my very favorite books since I was nine years old, and I’ve never been able to write a true or worthy review for it; I can’t even try.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of books I wish I’d written. Occasionally, I come across a book I should have written. This is a book I definitely should have written. It touched me to the core in that incredibly familiar way that seems to come from within, not the outside. Some details are
Beautiful, just beautiful! I loved this book so much! The writing style was marvelous, I loved the main character. So many people told me to read this book and I finally did. The plot was different and unique. This is how I found out about this book.

2 Days Ago...

I was sitting at my desk in Tec class and I was reading the last book in the Mistborn Trilogy. When I was at the most intense scene, someone poked me on the shoulder.
"WOAH," I screamed. I was terrified, but I should have known it was
I’ve been struggling over how to begin this review. I want to get it exactly right. I want to convey to you precisely what it is that I mean to say. If you’ve read any of my reviews before then you know that I like lots of stuff. There is, quite frankly, a lot of stuff out there to like. So what I have to do here is convey to you just how this book is, pretty much, one of the best children’s books I have ever read. Here’s an idea. Have you not heard of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? Well no ...more
I almost did not read this book. I knew it was targeted for a younger audience, but I didn’t realize just how young. I kept vainly searching for it in the teenagers’ section (where I was already a bit embarrassed to be spotted). When I realized I would have to go inside the children’s section at B&N, I wavered. The little chairs. The colored foam titles on the floor. The stuffed animals. It’s all cute, but could one of those books satisfy me?

It probably deserves more than three stars. But it
Newbery Winner 2010
#2 on Barnes & Noble's Top Ten Children's Books of 2009
Maine Student Book Award Nominee 2010-2011

I feel like I'm missing something because every other review seems to be five stars. I liked the book. How could I not, when it references A Wrinkle in Time so often. I personally found the mystery to be easily solved. I like how the author weaved the clues in, but I found it to be very obvious and knew from the beginning from the book who it was and how it would work. I'm not
I was a sixth grader in 1979. In seventh grade, I wrote a book report on A Wrinkle In Time, which remains on my favorite books-of-all-time list to this day. I have not read L'Engle's classic in a long time. The books we love from childhood are as much about who we were when we read them as it is about the books themselves. I suppose I fear that I won't enjoy A Wrinkle In Time as much as I did when I was twelve.

Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me might change my mind.

The book takes place in 1979, a
Aug 25, 2013 smetchie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to smetchie by: Jamie
It's a time travelling story. It will remind you of other time travelling stories. But that's just the box. What's inside is bona fide gold. Newbery medal and I guess I should have seen that coming, but I didn't. It was a delightful surprise.

Miranda is twelve and lives in NYC with her mom. Her mom has rules about city living like never show your money on the street and always have your key out before you reach the front door. But Miranda has a trick of her own. "If I'm afraid of someon
Clare Cannon
Feb 07, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13+ years

This intriguing modern day story draws inspiration from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

When Miranda's mother unexpectedly fell pregnant during college, she put her studies on hold and took time out to care for her baby. Twelve years later mother and daughter are poor but happy together.

Miranda is a good girl, but like many her age her world is small and revolves mainly around herself. When strange notes appear which tell her about things that will happen in the future, she is intrigued.
I liked this book, though I'm not sure I can jump on the bandwagon of rave reviews. The writing is well-done, and I love the language - it's quite poetic in places. The main character is an observant, thoughtful, intelligent young woman who is very likeable. The subject of the story - centered on the idea of time-travel - is pleasantly different from the popular YA literature that currently crowds bookstore and library shelves (zombies, vampires, etc). What I did not like about the novel is that ...more
Actually, I surprised myself by thoroughly enjoying this book. This is why: 1) I rarely like any books whose target audience is middle-schoolers; 2) "When You Reach Me" is a sort of homage to Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time," a novel which I couldn't get myself to finish.

It's a little hard to give a synopsis of the story. 12-year old Miranda's best friend Sal suddenly stops talking to her. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda start
Monica Edinger
Ivonne Rovira
Aug 24, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Lisa Eggers
In a conventional novel for young people, Miranda Sinclair’s mother practicing to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid would be the highlight — nay, the entirety — of the novel. But by now you’ve guessed that When You Reach Me is no ordinary novel; instead, it’s one of the most unconventional novels I’ve ever read — and I’m including The Name of the Rose, The Icarus Hunt, Dorp Dead, and Miranda’s favorite book of all time, A Wrinkle in Time. Miranda’s mother, a bleeding-heart paralegal and sin ...more
Tiny, tremendous book! True story – I was reading this morning in the waiting room at the doctor's office. I'd spent the whole train ride up bitching to myself about how these guys are always overscheduled and without fail they're running at least half an hour behind. So I'm sitting there, about 90% of the way through my audiobook, and my name gets called. And I'm all, ". . . you're early," and the tech is all, "it's weird, isn't it?" and honest to God I was thisclose to telling him to come back ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
I just finished this, and I'm feeling like I missed something. So many people are raving about this, but I don't see it. I liked the New York setting, the kids running around on their own with latch keys, and the visits to the sub shop at lunch time. The friendships and characters were good, but didn't seem remarkable.
The story is about Miranda, who lives with her mom in New York, and whose favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of my favorite books, too. Her mom wants to get on the $
Jul 28, 2014 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to 'tesser well'
Shelves: favorites
WOW. Holy cow. I did not see this coming. This was fantastic. This is going straight to my best of all time list. Very original, awesome setting. A very smart book. Great writing. LOVED it. Can't wait to read it again.

Read it again. Just as good the second time.

7/29/2014: My fourth read! Always amazing, but this time was really cool. My niece is at my house for a few days. She has to read this over the summer for school! We stayed up all night reading it right to the end. We both loved it. My vo
2.5 stars. Going right in between "okay" and "I liked it" on this one. On the good side, this is a clever YA (emphasis on the young) mystery that is fairly well paced and a good ending. I also thought the discussions about time were pretty good and may interest younger readers in wanting to learn more.

On the negative side, I didn't really like the characters and the prose, while good, was not as engaging as I would have liked. That could very well be simply the result of its aiming for a younge
Sarah BT
I read this book many months ago, but I've held off on blogging about it because I didn't find myself gushing over it like everyone else and I wanted to think about why. I enjoyed it, and I think it's a good read, and I'm featuring it on Tween Tuesday because I think some tweens will enjoy it. It just didn't strike me as a book that could have a huge tween audience. If you have a tween reader who has enjoyed books by Kate DiCamillo, Sharon Creech, or Katherine Patterson, I would give them this ...more
So much in such a little book and not what I expected at all. Miranda's (the main character's) favourite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this novel if you really think about it. There are kind of two intertwined stories that are really one story. The first is the story of a preteen girl going through the pangs of growing up, losing her best friend and finding new ones, overcoming preconceived notions of others, coming to terms with racism, ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Luann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ALL Madeleine L'Engle fans
Wow. Easily five stars. This is a MUST for all Madeleine L'Engle fans - and anyone who enjoyed watching The $20,000 Pyramid game show! Once I really got started, I didn't want to stop until I had finished. And even once I reached the end, I went back and reread some parts again.

I loved the writing style with short chapters, most with titles that could be categories on The $20,000 Pyramid game show and applied in some way to the events in the chapter. The short chapters also moved the story alon
The Holy Terror
Apr 06, 2011 The Holy Terror rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to The Holy Terror by: Andy
4.5 stars!

This is the newest Newbery Medal Award Winner and I had actually wanted to read it before it had been nominated. This is a cleverly written "slice of life" tale that transcends age, gender, and race and is a great story that anyone and everyone can enjoy.

This book twists and turns and meanders about in such a fascinating way that you're quickly pulled into Miranda's and her friends' lives and what it's like to grow up in New York in the late '70s. Some of the observations that the auth
Tamora Pierce
While I label this great book (to be published in July 2009) science fiction, that element is not the most obvious part of the story. Rather it's the story of Miranda, who doesn't understand why her best friend from the floor below her has cut her off since the day a big kid punched him in the stomach. We follow her through school as she tries to make friends with the well-to-do Annamarie and Colin, tries to sort out Julia's emnity, and together with her mother's boyfriend helps her mother to pr ...more

While the story is aimed at younger teens, I found it to be fantastically written. The beginning is a bit confusing at first but then things begin to make sense as the string is unraveled. Once the pieces of the puzzle fall into place we are left with a magnificently twisty plot and wonderful story.

The element of suspense never leaves the pages and the reader is constantly left wondering who is sending Miranda notes. And possibly, maybe, whether this has something to do with bending time.But
Marjorie Light

I’ll never forget the day I learned the wonders of the Mobiüs strip…mathematics wasn’t my thing – I am a word nerd. So I was caught off guard when I was handed a thin blue strip of paper. “Now put a small twist in it like this,” he explained. “Next, bring the ends together and tape them, like so.” Then, I took my pencil, as instructed, and drew a thin carbon line, starting on the outside. I was stunned when I eventually connected it back and had one continuous stran
It's OK. It's clever, but it's not that clever. Quirky, spunky girl protagonist with quirky, spunky mom dealing with growing up, beginning to empathize with the problems of others, boys, etc....with one twist.

I wasn't 100% sure, but I had a pretty good idea of the twist at the end. I think most will like this, but it won't blow you away. It's not some deep, insightful book. Miranda is nice. I like the overarching message she learns of kindness and empathy. The "lessons" learned by her mom aren't
Utterly engaging!

Shortly after the Newberys were announced, I was at a bookstore talking with some children's book authors, and some of the booksellers. They were talking about the Newbery awards, always a hot-button topic, and one of the other authors (Ann Cannon) was saying how much she adored the new winner, When You Reach Me. She said that it reminded her of books she had read as a kid, and that it was just a treat for her to read.

Ann, I agree 100%.

This book was a treat. A delight. It remind
Ooh. This book is so fabulously clever and smart. It brings together: 1970s New York, the game show The $20,000 Pyramid, the many complexities of interpersonal relationships, A Wrinkle in Time, and a fantastic mystery. I loved the characters, and was so impressed with how Stead (seemingly) effortlessly charts the ups and downs of their relationships: friendships forming and falling apart and coming together again. This is a kids’ book, but like I said it is a smart kids’ book, one in which Stead ...more
Emily  (ObsessedReader)
4.5 stars
This book was so wonderfully written, and it all came together perfectly. I loved it!
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I love books but don't feel like stars capture what I want to say about them. Many of the books on my list are, in my opinion, amazing. Some I didn't like. But I give them all five stars, because stars make people - including me -- happy. Confused? Me too.

If you want to talk about any book I've read, I'm here.
More about Rebecca Stead...
Liar & Spy First Light Goodbye Stranger When You Reach Me/First Light Guys Read: Plan B: A Short Story from Guys Read: Other Worlds

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“Well, it's simple to love someone," she said. "But it's hard to know when you need to say it out loud.” 229 likes
“Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way. But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there's a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. Some people learn to lift the veil themselves. Then they don't have to depend on the wind anymore.” 200 likes
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