Kristin's Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
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Feb 06, 12

bookshelves: family, friendship, historical-fiction, kids, middle-grade, mystery, read-in-2012, reader-s-advisory, sci-fi, ya, book-club
Read from January 31 to February 06, 2012

Brilliant book that crosses genres seamlessly. Miranda is an 11-year-old growing up in New York City with her single mother in 1978. You get a real sense of New York in the '70s - not a very nice time for this city, but the author portrays this time and place realistically without making New York appear overly dangerous or romanticized. Miranda and Sal have been best friends since they were little, but that all changes one day, when Miranda very succinctly puts its: Sal got punched. Forced to make new friends, Miranda learns a lot about dealing with people - adults and children alike - and she happens upon some very odd and unsettling notes that may be from the future.

It's important to pay close attention to what's going on in this book. I don't really like sci-fi, but the author explains what's going on in a way that makes it seem possible that this story could happen. It also comes off as primarily realistic, so those fearing sci-fi won't even really notice what's going on until much later. It's a sneaky way to open a door into other literary genres, but effective for kids searching for what to read next.

Nods to a Wrinkle in Time throughout, but they are explained so kids don't get lost. Lots of middle grade books on my plate so far this year, and it's been really refreshing. Such a great time of transition in a child's life, and writing for this age group reflects that!
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