Jolie's Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
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Mar 13, 10

bookshelves: read-alouds-with-kids

If I had any power in the book-world at all, this book would be reprinted next year with a shiny sticker on the cover proclaiming it to be a Newberry Award Winner. Since I really have no power at all, I will satisfy myself by suggesting to all those that still happen to read my little reviews that you go out and find this book and read it. Immediately. Or at least, really soon. It really is that good.

Rebecca Stead's novel is set in the late 70's in New York City--a time when sixth-graders had the ability to walk to and from school on their own, and go out to lunch (unless, of course, the naked guy was running around Broadway)--and some were even latch-key kids like Miranda. Miranda's life begins to change when the laughing man shows up on the corner of her street, kicking the air and generally acting crazy. It takes a definite turn for the worse when her best friend, Sal, stops talking to her after getting punched by a bigger kid on their way home from school. And then things really get weird. Like the door to her apartment being unlocked and notes turning up in strange places. Notes that are from an unknown source who claims to be coming to save her friend's life, and who knows too much about things that are yet to happen.

This is a masterfully plotted story--it weaves around itself, foreshadowing with grace (instead of a heavy fist), and creating genuine mystery with a satisfying ending. It is at once a coming-of-age story, a loving homage to L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, a mystery, and happy piece of science fiction to boot. It manages to walk that fine line in which it will appeal to both children and adults, both girls and boys, those that like fiction and those that prefer realistic writing. It is the kind of book that begs to be re-read, and will be just as satisfying the second time around.

It's our current selection for our mother-daughter bookclub, and I absolutely can't wait until our discussion!

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Windy (new) - added it

Windy This is in the book order flyer that came home from school today. You've sold me on it.
How fun to have a mother/daughter book club! What else have you read with Alexis?

Jolie Windy-- We've got four other moms and five other girls in our group--ages range from 8 to 11 (with most of them being 9 and 10). We started with a short book that would promote good discussion--The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes. We then read The Secret School, by Avi; Ida B by Katherine Hanningan; and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. But this one was a favorite for both me and Sarah.

message 3: by Windy (new) - added it

Windy How funny - Emily and I have read all of those other books together. Sorry that I put the wrong daughter with the wrong mom!

Jolie Well, not to toot my own horn...but did anybody notice that this book did indeed win the Newberry?! Hooray!

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