Lisa Vegan's Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
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Apr 06, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: childrens, fiction, novel, speculative-fiction, reviewed, time-travel, young-adult, historical-fiction, favorites, 1-also-at-lt, nyc
Recommended for: A Wrinkle in Time fans; 9 to adult; those who enjoy time travel, NYC, 1979, 12 yr old girls
Read on April 05, 2010 — I own a copy

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 “off” of course, but the gist is precisely what I would have written had I thought of it first.

I inhaled this book and read it in one day, which is highly unusual for me, but used to be more typical when I was much younger. It was a joy to read. If I’d read this when I was 10, 11, 12, I suspect I’d have loved it even more.

The time travel part was exquisitely done, New York too, 1979 also, the kids were completely believable, as were the adults. Memories of mine surfaced, never forgotten but powerfully brought to the present. This might not be a perfect book, but I had a near perfect experience reading it. I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery along with Miranda. I felt a deep emotional involvement, which I love feeling when I read a book.

And I sure wish I had Miranda’s gift book!

It also has the most lovely and meaningful dedication page I’ve seen in ages.

I emailed a childhood friend, who also has always loved A Wrinkle in Time, the second I finished this book, to insist she has to read it.

I do think readers who haven’t read and enjoyed Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time can enjoy this book, but I would suggest reading L’Engle’s book before picking up this one; it will mean so much more.

This was a wonderful day, thanks to this book.

Edited the next day to add:

Many parts are very funny.

Unlike many cross genre books, readers don't have to appreciate all the genres; one will suffice: realistic middle school fiction or science fiction & time travel; either will work. Also, recommended for those who appreciate friendship stories and family stories. Really, if you know the book A Wrinkle in Time, add this book to your to-read list. If it's already on your list, bump it up. It won the Newbery and this is one of the times when the book is deserving of the award!
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Reading Progress

04/05 page 1
0.5% "I'll start this later today."
03/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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Annalisa I just read this and thought it was fantastic--and I've never read A Wrinkle in Time (I know, a disgrace).


Lisa Vegan Annalisa wrote: "I've never read A Wrinkle in Time."

Oh, you poor deprived baby. Actually, I'm always shocked when people don't give it 5 stars, but many don't. My fourth grade teacher read it to us when I was nine, my fifth grade teacher again when I was ten, then I bought my own copy which I still have. I know I've read it more than 100 times.

I don't know if I'd love it so much if I'd been introduced to it as an older teen or adult. (You should try it though.)


Annalisa If I read it with my 8-year-old, it will help because I'll be seeing it through her eyes.


Lisa Vegan Annalisa, I agree. Hmm. I'd say wait 'til 9 but it depends on the kid. When it was published in 1962 I was 9 and it was listed for 12 + up. Now, it's listed for 9-12. Anyway, all my classmates and I liked it at age 9 in the fourth grade. I'm not sure about younger.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

"This might not be a perfect book, but I had a near perfect experience reading it."

I so agree!! Excited to hear how much you enjoyed this, Lisa.


Lisa Vegan Ariel,

I love your books-that-deserve-six-stars shelf! You should try to write a review of this book.

I think I'm going to need to buy this one.

Wish I could get a first edition autographed copy. ;-)


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

The thing about this book is that I didn't even realize it was about time travel for a while... so when I recommended it to my mother, for example, who loves A Wrinkle in Time--I enticed her by mentioning that it happens to be the main character's favorite book, but didn't mention how significant that was. And when I read it, it had just come out, so I didn't want to give away any spoilers on goodreads--but how to review this book without mentioning the best part, you know? Ergo, no review.

Yet I do find it really interesting how, for me at least, I have an easier time reviewing books I love than books I don't care for... but I have a nearly impossible time reviewing the books I consider the best.


message 8: by Lisa (last edited Apr 06, 2010 01:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ariel, I do understand. I can't write a good enough review for A Wrinkle in Time. The only thing I knew about this book before I read it is that A Wrinkle in Time is the main character's favorite book, which is why I wanted to read it. Well, your worth six stars shelf should give members helpful enough information. I'm just sorry I waited so long to read it and very grateful that now I have read it.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Abigail you totally should! I had, completely coincidentally, reread the Time Quartet right before I read When You Reach Me.


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "Great review, Lisa! I've always loved A Wrinkle in Time, but it's been a while since I reread it. I might do that first, before getting to this one..."

Abigail, I think you'll love this book. Ideally, yes, reread
A Wrinkle in Time first, but it might not be necessary. If hearing bits about the plot are enough to refresh your memory of the book in general, that would work well enough. But, I know the book so well (on my top-25 list!) and it was extra fun for me because of that.

Oh, how I loved this book!!! I pieced together the very last perplexing thing (to me) about the mystery while in the shower this morning.

I'm going to have to buy this one. I would love an autographed copy, but those are going for big bucks on the internet.

Perhaps I'll invite Rebecca Stead to be a Goodreads author member. It looks as though the best way to reach her is by snail mail, and I am just so lazy. Email is possible. Neither look as though they really go to her directly.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Lisa--when I finished When You Reach Me, I sent Rebecca Stead a goodreads message, and she got back to me within a week. :)


message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ariel wrote: "Lisa--when I finished When You Reach Me, I sent Rebecca Stead a goodreads message, and she got back to me within a week. :)"

Ariel, She's not a member here. How did you send her a message, do you remember? That's good to know. I wonder though whether she's now inundated with so many fan messages that perhaps she can't reply to them all anymore.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting! She was definitely a goodreads member at the time. You can see that her profile information refers to giving all books five stars... and she did... but all those ratings have disappeared now that she isn't a member anymore.


message 14: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ariel, Maybe it ended up being too much work for her. I guess I won't invite her, given that she was a member, then quit. I'm disappointed. Ah well. The book is wonderful!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I know. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!


message 16: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Have you read her first book, First Light? I haven't added it yet, but I might.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't nearly as impressed. It felt too derivative of other books and movies. But it was an interesting concept and there were things I liked about it...

I would be happy to send it to you if you decide you are interested. I'm definitely not going to be rereading it.


message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks, Ariel. If I do decide to read it I'll be able to borrow it from the library.

Abigail, Re message #9: Thanks. (I wish I could write a worthy review of AWIT!!!)


Ginny Messina Great review, Lisa! I just put a hold on it at the library. And I went ahead and requested a copy of "A Wrinkle in Time" while I was at it. Haven't read that book in years and I have to admit that I don't remember it very well. I just remember absolutely adoring it! So I'll re-read that first.


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ginny, perfect plan! I hope you enjoy both of them.

I couldn't stand it and I ordered a copy of this book. I'm still thinking a lot about it.


message 21: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Great review!

I have never read "Neverending Story"--I saw the movie as a kid and it made me SO sad. OMG!!! Maybe I should try the book now that I'm "all grown up."

So, "When You Reach Me"--is it sad??? A tearjerker? How's the ending (don't mind spoilers--if it's not happy, I won't read it anyway)??? Thanks!


message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan I just read The Neverending Story for our Children's Book Club and really liked it Never seen any of the movies.

Kathryn wrote: "So, "When You Reach Me"--is it sad??? A tearjerker? How's the ending (don't mind spoilers--if it's not happy, I won't read it anyway)??? Thanks! "

I'm going to pm you in case others don't want even very minor spoilers.


Sadie Brasel I read this book and I am 11 so you can imagin how much I loved this book. Our teacher read it to us and whenever we read a book with her she makes us do a test and part of the test was to write a letter to Rebeca and I did I told her I loved her book alot


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

That sounds like so much fun, Sadie! You are lucky that your teacher picks great books.

I wrote Rebecca a letter and told her how much I loved it, too. :)


message 25: by Lisa (last edited May 29, 2010 11:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Sadie, and Ariel, I'll bet authors are thrilled to get letters from readers who have enjoyed their books!

Yes, it would be fun to read it at 11, but I think I enjoyed it just about as much reading it as an adult too.


Catherine When I read When You Reach Me to my fourth grade class, I avoid identifying genre with them and acknowledge that it does have the features of realistic or historic fiction. I don't want to spoil the big payoff. I didn't know it was a time travel book the first time I read it, and I loved the shock and awe when it was revealed!


message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Catherine, You're a great teacher! Reading this book to the kids AND letting them discover it for themselves as you went along. I love reading to/with kids at the fourth and fifth grade levels because there are so many great books to share with kids ages 9,10,11.


Andra You are right about people who haven't read L'Engle can enjoy this book. I never read "A Wrinkle in Time," though I remember trying to get into it as a child - didn't work for me. However, I was still able to thoroughly enjoy this book, even though the references to AWIT were lost on me.


message 29: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Andra, That's good to know. A Wrinkle in Time (this cover pre-Newbery) has never left my top 10 books list, so I've definitely been recommending this book to all my fellow fans of AWIT, but I'm glad to know it works as a complete standalone.


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