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When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead




Overview -

Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it all.' --The Washington Post

This Newbery Medal winner that has been called smart and mesmerizing, (The New York Times) and superb (The Wall Street Journal) will appeal to readers of all types, especially those who are looking for a thought-provoking mystery with a mind-blowing twist.

Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn't know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter--a true story, and that she can't share her mission with anyone.

It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem--because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction
A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book
Five Starred Reviews
A Junior Library Guild Selection

Absorbing. --People

Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward. --The Wall Street Journal

Lovely and almost impossibly clever. --The Philadelphia Inquirer

It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. --Publishers Weekly, Starred review

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More About When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

 
 
 

Overview

Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it all.' --The Washington Post

This Newbery Medal winner that has been called smart and mesmerizing, (The New York Times) and superb (The Wall Street Journal) will appeal to readers of all types, especially those who are looking for a thought-provoking mystery with a mind-blowing twist.

Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn't know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter--a true story, and that she can't share her mission with anyone.

It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem--because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction
A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book
Five Starred Reviews
A Junior Library Guild Selection

Absorbing. --People

Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward. --The Wall Street Journal

Lovely and almost impossibly clever. --The Philadelphia Inquirer

It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. --Publishers Weekly, Starred review


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385737425
  • ISBN-10: 0385737424
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
  • Publish Date: July 2009
  • Page Count: 199
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Miranda's perplexing mystery

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious,” said Albert Einstein, and that’s exactly what 12-year-old Miranda has. In fact, her whole story is a mystery. Readers know from page one that Miranda is telling this story to someone in particular. She narrates the story and stops every now and then to address the unknown person: “Just like you said” or “You asked me to mention the key.” Then there’s Sal, Miranda’s best friend—only friend, actually—who is hit in the stomach and face on the way home from school one day, and that ends their friendship, but we don’t know why that should be. And Miranda begins finding mysterious notes that say things like, “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own” and “The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.” The notes indicate that she is being watched and that whoever is writing them knows about things before they happen.

The book’s cover gathers some of the clues: a key, a shoe, a two dollar bill, a mailbox with a person’s shadow extending from it (but there’s no person), a green coat, a book, a sack of bread. All of these things play into the story, though readers will just have to keep reading if they don’t understand everything right away. They can trust Rebecca Stead’s masterful plotting. She sprinkles clues, and readers must collect them along the way, as Miranda does.

In the midst of all the mysteriousness is an expertly crafted realistic story perfect for intermediate readers. The setting—New York City’s Upper West Side in 1979—is well drawn, and Miranda’s mother lets her navigate the streets of her neighborhood, teaching her to avoid those older boys hanging out and that mysterious laughing man always saying crazy things.

What could be better: a great setting, believable characters and a mystery deftly woven by a fine writer. This is a book to be reckoned with come Newbery season.

Dean Schneider teaches middle school English in Nashville.

 

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