Ivonne Rovira's Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
3803671
's review

really liked it
bookshelves: children-literature
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 single mom, does achieve her dream of garnering a spot on the ABC game show, but that fact is dwarfed by the main point of the novel, which doesn’t reveal itself until two-thirds of the way through.

When You Reach Me is best enjoyed when the reader goes in without knowing much. But I can reveal that the novel dwells on how a small act can profoundly affect those around you, for good or ill. That what has become a platitude can be expressed so profoundly and uniquely is a testament to author Rebecca Stead’s talent. Miranda and her friends Sal, Annemarie, Colin, Marcus Heilbronner, and Julia — whether in their pettiness or superciliousness or self-absorbed cruelty or bad-boy misunderstood pose — will strike the reader as real kids, with all the rough edges and inexplicable kindnesses and cruelties that that implies. Whether you’re an adult or child, this will be one of the more original works you’ll ever read.

So why four stars and not five? The book didn’t reach me emotionally in the same way as, say, The Wrinkle in Time or The Ring of Rocamadour or The Magic Thief did, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. As a native New Yorker, I should have fallen in love with this chronicle of New York City’s West Side in 1978, but I never did. Perhaps, like Charles Wallace Murray in The Wrinkle in Time, I somehow just couldn’t connect. But I suspect that the mystery didn’t start building too late for me to become swept up in the book. Still, very much recommended.
13 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read When You Reach Me.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

July 11, 2014 – Shelved
July 11, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
August 14, 2014 – Started Reading
August 24, 2014 – Finished Reading
July 4, 2016 – Shelved as: children-literature

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee I used to loooooove that show!

Lisa bought me a copy of this- I meant to leave it out...but I packed it by accident- now it is lost in the land of book boxes for the next few weeks...or so. :(


Ivonne Rovira You know, I wanted to like it more. Now, don't get me wrong: I really did like it. But, as it won the Newbery Award, I felt as if I should have been blown away -- and I wasn't. I feel -- well, guilty's not quite the right word, but something like that.


message 3: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee Four is a good solid rating- there is nothing bad about a four. I am hoping I hate it- Lisa hates about 65% of the books I love. I owe her a few...lol

But I will probably love it dammit!


message 4: by Arah-Lynda (new) - added it

Arah-Lynda Lisa's review persuaded me to add to my TBR and yours has just upped the ante.


Lisa Oh Ivonne, you read it! YAY!!!! I'm glad you liked it :) Don't worry, I was blown away enough for the both of us, ha! I don't know why this one really gets to me, but it sure does. I cry every time I read it and I just think it's a masterpiece. And it's not very long, so if I recommend it to someone and they don't like it, I don't feel tooooo bad.


message 6: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee Lisa wrote: .....so if I recommend it to someone and they don't like it, I don't feel tooooo bad.

Pllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuubhhhhhhhhhhhhb.


message 7: by Lisa (last edited Aug 24, 2014 06:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Delee wrote: "Lisa wrote: .....so if I recommend it to someone and they don't like it, I don't feel tooooo bad.

Pllllllllllllllluuuuuuuuuuuuuubhhhhhhhhhhhhb."


what was that? lol :) I know I have odd taste. I own it! So I'm always hesitant to recommend. I often love stuff no one likes and I don't get the stuff everyone's loving (good example: Fikry). But if I see someone loves A Wrinkle in Time, I throw this one out there!


message 8: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee I was making the stick your tongue out and blow noise. It isn't easy to spell you know.

I was just being a brat- You bring it out in me.


Lisa Well YOU are the exception, dear Delee: I don't hesitate to tell YOU what to read. But with others I tend to try to be polite. ;)

Plllllllllllllllluuuuuuuubhhhhhhhhhhhhb.


message 10: by Kandice (new) - added it

Kandice Lol! You two are hilarious! I've got this one from the lib right now. I'll start it soon.


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

Lisa K is a wildcard! I hope you like it, K, but with you I'm never quite sure ;)


message 12: by Kandice (new) - added it

Kandice I know, I'm a weirdo!! Lol.


message 13: by Kandice (new) - added it

Kandice I was thinking, we should plan a buddy read in October. Maybe a Halloween themed book, but nothing too scary for Ivonne :-)


message 14: by Ivonne (last edited Aug 24, 2014 03:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivonne Rovira Kandice wrote: "I was thinking, we should plan a buddy read in October. Maybe a Halloween themed book, but nothing too scary for Ivonne :-)"

[loud chanting voice]: Bud-dy read! Bud-dy read! Bud-dy read! Bud-dy read! Bud-dy read! [imagine like the "Toga! Toga!" chanting in Animal House]


Ivonne Rovira Has everyone already read Help for the Haunted? If so, I have another idea: the best Halloween book ever, A Night in the Lonesome October. It's amazing! Everyone loved it -- even my little hater. And the audio version is absolutely inspired.


message 16: by Kandice (new) - added it

Kandice I haven't read either and I'm game for anything!


message 17: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee I have read HFTH....but Lisa and I were talking just last month about A Night in the Lonesome October!!!

We just have to find a copy- It is getting re-released soon. Right now it is out of print.


message 18: by Delee (new) - added it

Delee I just looked it up- re-release date Oct 1st. :)


message 19: by Kandice (new) - added it

Kandice Sounds like a sign to me :-)


message 20: by Ivonne (last edited Aug 24, 2014 06:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivonne Rovira Oh, God! I love, love, love this book! The audio is fabulous. The audio CD is $23. The downloadable audio version is available from Speaking Volumes for $21.

Just sayin'.


message 21: by ✨Susan✨ (last edited Aug 24, 2014 07:22PM) (new)

✨Susan✨ Great review. I loved A Wrinkle in Time. Forgot to add it to my fave's. I'm going to ask Audible to offer A Night in the Lonesome October, or it can be preordered from Amazon. I guess it has 31 chapters. I chapter for each day in Oct. It sounds like the perfect Halloween book!! Someone else was raving about it not too long ago.


back to top