Samantha's Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
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's review
Aug 04, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: b-n-top-ten-of-the-year, newbery-winners, indies-choice-awards
Read in August, 2009

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 sure if kids will feel the same way. But the ease with which I solved the mystery is why I don't think I can give this book as glowing a review as everyone else seems to.

Really, why is this book getting so much praise? I feel like this is the first time that I've ever been so confused by a book that people praise as awesome that I found predictable and thought was just okay. And the more I hear people praise, the more I want to dig my heels in. I've talked to two people about it and neither of them like it. WHY IS THIS BOOK BEING PRAISED SO MUCH?
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Reading Progress

03/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Jordin (new) - added it

Jordin Williams Thank you! I was so confused when they were talking about the whole time-traveling deal. I didn't read any reviews before hand, so I honestly had no idea that it was going to be about time travel, if I would have known, I don't think I would have even attempted to read the book.

Tensy MB I just finished the audio of this book and frankly I fast forwarded through the 3rd CD because I was so bored. Like you I figured out the puzzle early on and didn't engage with any of the characters except maybe Julia. A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books when I was young and led to a lifelong love of science fiction. I picked this book because of the glowing reviews, but I kept wondering when the pace was going to pick up.

The Winter Rose Good question! I don't know why it's getting so much praise either. I kept reading and expecting to be wowed and was so underhwealmed by the book I was certain I had missed something, so I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way.

Jill I figured it out pretty early too - but still loved the book. I thought the complexity level was just right for the age group intended - middle-schoolers. I have been a L'Engle fan since I was in grade school. Makes me want to read her books all over again.

Eeboo This book is really good!

Helen I'm with you on this one. Before I'd finished the first couple of chapters, I knew exactly how the whole entire book would play out. I not only had the mystery solved, but I guessed the nature of the mystery before it even came into the book properly. Good heavens, the fact that the main character obsesses over A Wrinkle in Time (though 'tis one of my favorite books ever) is a dead give-away. I did't find the characters particularly well-crafted either; they were well-begun, but the author never puts flesh on the pretty skeletons she's built. Even for middle-school children it's weakly crafted, never going far beyond two-dimensional, and certainly never achieving the fifth dimension (a tesseract.)

Adam I think you missed the point of the book. I understand that it's easy to think that this is a mystery book, just waiting to be solved, and I understand that a lot of people might go into reading this with that mindset, and will ultimately be disappointed.

I went into this book not knowing what to expect at all, and what I found surprised me. I did not find a mystery, nor did I find a story of time travel, but a story about a little girl and how the parallels of her favorite book helped to outline her understanding of empathy over sympathy, and about how important even the smallest thing could be.

In my opinion, this wasn't a book about "figuring out what happened," because I too predicted the ending early on. For me, it was about bearing witness to a young adult growing into a caring individual who, rather than wondering about every little thing, begins to answer her own questions.

It's a quiet, little book, and the story may just be a tiny pocket, but it's filled with beauty.

That's why I liked it. Just my two cents...

Kristi Thank you, Adam.

Betsy Wolf Adam, what a beautiful description of this little gem of a book.

Alice Adam,thanks. Great review.

message 11: by Kari (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kari Gunderson Perfect defense. I went in w/zero expectations as well, and was gripped. Amazes me the punch that middle grade literature can pack into so few pages.

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

Kari Gunderson Perfect defense. I went in w/zero expectations as well, and was gripped. Amazes me the punch that middle grade literature can pack into so few pages.

AMajesticPlant I loved the book

message 14: by Ruth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ruth E. R. Adam, your review is so right. I saw it as a story about a girl who grows in compassion, taking quiet steps from childhood to adulthood. I didn't think of it as a successful book for juveniles, but this had nothing to do with expecting a middle grades book to be an adult thriller.

Jeremy If you thought the merits of this book rested on the puzzle's difficulty, then you really missed out. But that's okay, we all read books for different reasons.

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