Jackie "the Librarian"'s Reviews > When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
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really liked it
bookshelves: awardwinners, childrensbooks, sciencefiction, timetravel

I just finished this, and I'm feeling like I missed something. So many people are raving about this, but I don't see it. I liked the New York setting, the kids running around on their own with latch keys, and the visits to the sub shop at lunch time. The friendships and characters were good, but didn't seem remarkable.
The story is about Miranda, who lives with her mom in New York, and whose favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of my favorite books, too. Her mom wants to get on the $50,000 Pyramid game show, and manages to get picked as a contestant. Miranda and her mom's boyfriend help her practice.
Miranda's friendship with downstairs neighbor Sal is suffering, and she's not sure why. And someone is leaving her weird little notes that have her freaking out. And this kid, Marcus, who punched Sal for no reason one time, suddenly is talking to her.
And then, there's the time travel stuff. Not much. I'm still wondering if it really works, in this book...
I'm thinking I missed something, that I'd benefit from a re-reading. Why do I think that? Because, I'm wondering about alternate timelines, which isn't good, is it? Shouldn't I be thinking about friendship, and sacrifice, and stuff?
Newbery winner 2010.
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Reading Progress

April 21, 2010 – Started Reading
April 21, 2010 – Shelved
April 30, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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Todd i like your plain-talking review style and appreciate another school librarian who doesn't particularly sound like one. i did like this book a lot, but how come the 4 stars if you didn't connect with the major themes? are you just generous?

Jackie "the Librarian" Four stars because the story drew me on, Todd, and I liked the characters and the setting. And yes, I'm generous. :)

Andrea Webster Hmm, I loved it. Or more exactly, and rather differently, I was blown away by it. It went along quite nicely, with well-rounded, interesting characters and a bit of intrigue and I was drawn along the whole way through and really wanted Miranda and Sal to get back "together" as friends. I really felt for Miranda. I think I rather identified with her. Not the most effective mystery, but I don't really read mysteries for that, so it didn't bother me much.

So I was going along, thinking it was quite a nice book that takes kids seriously - and then WHAM! that ending. Oh my goodness, that just blew me away completely! It sort of turned things inside out and put all the pieces together in this freaky and spooky and so very sad way. I was just amazed!

Don't know that you should read it again, though. If you didn't have that impact the first time, you surely wouldn't the second. Right?

Jackie "the Librarian" It might, Miranda, because I wouldn't be fighting certain expectations. I went in reading this knowing some things about the book already, but some of what I expected didn't happen the way I thought it would. Which was distracting. :)
Often on second readings, I'm able to judge a book more for its own merits than against my expectations.

Andrea Webster Hmm, do you mean like the Wrinkle in Time part? I didn't find too much to it, actually, but maybe it has been too long since I read WiT. Luckily, at least in this case, I'm not a selector for this area, so I don't read too many pro reviews beforehand. Our children's librarian told me to read it, so I did!

Jackie "the Librarian" Yes, the Wrinkle in Time part, Andrea. See, too much build up for me. :)

Andrea Webster Well then go ahead and read it again, what the heck! I mean, what else is there to do, right?

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

see... it really bothers me that you knew so much about it going in. i read it when it first came out, before the buzz really started building, so i knew nothing about it. i just happened to have read a wrinkle in time about a month earlier, which was pretty wonderful. but i had no idea what to expect. and i really didn't like that three months after the book came out, people were reviewing it and including references to a wrinkle in time and time travel. i thought part of the wonder was discovering their importance more slowly. i wish you could have experienced it that way... i wonder what you would have thought.

Jackie "the Librarian" Me, too, Ariel. You know, I was just thinking about this book yesterday, and how I liked the characters. I do wish I could have read it without the spoilers.

Rachel I just finished this book and I didn't really get it either. I too enjoyed the characters and setting.

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