Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

When You Reach Me
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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > Book of the Month for June (1) WHEN YOU REACH ME

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Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
As explained elsewhere, we have two books of the month for June and you can read either or both, as you choose. These are books we considered as possible future classics, in case you've forgotten the theme.

So, get your copy, have a good read, and post your comments here (using the 'spoiler' tag if you give any plot points away).

In this post please talk about WHEN YOU REACH ME

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


message 2: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em Ann ♡︎♡︎♡︎ - theglitterybookworm_ Alrighty! Excited to read this again!


Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
I've just place a hold on it to download from my library. First time I've tried this, so not sure I've done it right!


message 4: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em Ann ♡︎♡︎♡︎ - theglitterybookworm_ Jemima wrote: "I've just place a hold on it to download from my library. First time I've tried this, so not sure I've done it right!" I'm sure you did fine:).

I am searching through my basement (library he-he) to see if I can find it....... This will take awhile my friends....


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Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Checked out and downloaded my copy :)


Jennifer Voigt  Kaplan (jvoigtkaplan) | 10 comments I read WHEN YOU REACH ME a few years and it stuck with me as a great one. The mysterious story holds you, giving you just enough each chapter, but not too much. It's like slowly unwrapping a gift to find another beautifully wrapped gift. Stead's sentences are so gracefully succinct and flow so well, WHEN YOU REACH ME is one of a few books I've dissected when I try to better my own writing.


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Ana Salote | 36 comments Been on the fence but Jennifer's comment has persuaded me to read this one.


Jennifer Voigt  Kaplan (jvoigtkaplan) | 10 comments I hope you enjoy it!


Madeline Reynolds | 43 comments I picked up this book a while back. While I feel that the story moves a bit slowly, I enjoyed it. It was very riveting and made me think which I believe is a great quality for a book. However, I felt that many parts were not nessecary to include and added nothing to the plot. I would recommend it to any MG reader who doesn't mind a slower pace ;)


Angie (angiebayne) The first time I read this (right after it won the Newbery) I wasn't a big fan. But I read it again recently with my elementary age book group and liked it. The kids liked it as well. It is pretty twisty-turny timey-whimey but that added to the fun of it.


El • Your Average Bibliovert I just finished it! I thought it was really good. My social studies teacher (who is also a lit. comp and language arts teacher) got it for her classroom when she was at one if my dance recitals which was in a bookstore. :P
She recommended it to me and so did my mom so I'm glad I did get a chance to read it. I'm not quite sure what to talk about for it so I'm hoping someone else starts a discussion topic/question for it....?


Paula S (paula_s) I enjoyed it, and I'm sure I would have loved it if I had read it when I was a child.


Brenda (brlemon) | 27 comments I really enjoyed this book. I read it a few year ago but I remember being intrigued with the mystery from the get-go. The only problem I had was it was hard to place the time period of when the book was placed. Which is hard to do with a story like this.

I also liked how things were wrapped up at the end. I have read other books like it and always enjoy when there is an ending that satisfies your need for information while at the same time, leaving just enough to make you want to read more.


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Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
I finally got started, so we'll see if I finish in time to join the discussion--we are into vacation season.


Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
I had very little idea of what this book was really about, although I recognised the NYC setting, and thought of my friends around 210th Street and mentally set it there... To me it was very atmospheric, and when she talked about her book it took a while to click - when she talked about the boy kicking the ball I realised I knew which book she was reading (thank goodness I've read it!).

Even towards the end I hadn't worked out the identities, and this is a book I'd like to reread to see what wasn't obvious to me the first time round.

A book where the treasure is in the first reading, because you can never unread things :)


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Sarah | 11 comments I read this as a read aloud this spring; my students loved the mystery! We had a list of theories on the whiteboard of who was writing to Miranda, and what the clues were referring to. It was a fun, enchanting read. And several students became Madeline L'Engle fans when they devoured " A Wrinkle in Time" so they could be like Miranda. A book that encourages kids to read more? Yes, please!


Ruth Wilson | 25 comments I thought this book was amazing!

I agree, Jemima... a reread would be fun. I found it especially compelling since my own kids are this age range.


Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
I wonder if I'll have time to read it again before it goes back to the library!


Annie Payne (anniemae85) I finished this book earlier this week, but I've been super busy so I didn't add to the discussion then. I really enjoyed it, and was grateful I'd already read and enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time because it was such a huge part of this story.

I'm a children's librarian, and host book clubs at local elementary schools and at the library where I work. I'm currently planning to read A Wrinkle in Time with one group one month, and then this book the next.

I feel like this book touched upon several different topics that could be interesting for a wide variety of kids. The timey-wimey stuff, as well as the scientific talk that goes along with it, the romantic bits, the issues of race and medical conditions/dietary restrictions, death/loss/grief, complex friendships, and bullying all are topics that I think could be referenced and talked about with kids after reading this book.

I felt like there was time travel involved in the plot fairly early on, but it finally clicked with me when the Laughing Man took off running around the the corner in a strange way that he was the time traveller, and I knew that he was the boy in the green coat, too (sorry, I can't remember his name). After figuring that out, the excitement of the book for me came in seeing how long it would take for Miranda to figure it all out.

And what was up with her mom's relationship with Richard? I didn't understand her hesitation with him very well. He seemed like a really decent, upstanding guy, and I think that since Miranda and he liked each other so well and got along just as well, that that should have been enough to at least give the guy a key!

Jennifer's idea of using this book as a guide to perfecting your own writing is very interesting to me, and I think I can see why this book would work well in a role like that!


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Ana Salote | 36 comments Haven't quite finished the book but I can see that it has many strengths. It's well structured, well written, emotionally truthful, and touches on multiple themes which Annie has mentioned, but I wouldn't put it in the classics league. A classic for me is immediately entrancing, utterly absorbing, has a unique flavour and is recognised somewhere deep in the psyche as a whole and perfect thing.


message 21: by Susan (last edited Jun 27, 2016 07:08AM) (new)

Susan Count | 21 comments I slogged through it. It was boring and dis-jointed. It had a nod to every group... It's a classic all right - right up the Newberry alley. I agree with Jemima in that it's atmospheric - the author does a good job of putting us on the streets. Agree with Brenda too - it was a mystery.


Brenda (brlemon) | 27 comments Hi! I do have to warn Annie about what happened when I did Wrinkle in Time and then When You Reach Me......the kids were able to guess the ending to When You Reach Me at the very beginning which took away a huge part of the plot and the excitement of the book. There was no mystery.

I would suggest you do one or the other and then just book talk the other one for those who are interested.


Annie Payne (anniemae85) Thank you, Brenda, for that forewarning! It's definitely something to consider!


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Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Hmm. I'm pretty familiar with Wrinkle, but it didn't give me the answer to the mystery! Maybe I'm slow :)

I enjoyed the book, but can't say it hits my Top 10 list or anything. I agree with Annie--I couldn't see what was behind the hesitation about Richard!


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Sarah | 11 comments By the way, I also checked out another one of Stead's titles this summer: "Liar and Spy." It's another mystery, but without supernatural elements. What I love about Steads writing is her ability to bring mystery and suspense to real world and very human problems. Her characters are deeply developed and you feel like you are really inside their heads, and understand their motivations. I will read everything she writes...I can't put them down!


Katerina | 1 comments Looking forward to reading Liar & Spy. Thank you for reminding me of this one. Stead reminds me of Holly Sloan's Counting by Seven, the "inside their head" aspect.


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