When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Rebecca Stead

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  • Publisher: Image Books
  • Format: Hardback | 199 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 213mm x 23mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 14 July 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0385737424
  • ISBN 13: 9780385737425
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 47,454

Product description

Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal "Four mysterious letters change Miranda's world forever. " By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: " I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. "The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.

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Author information

Rebecca Stead is the author of "First Light." She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two sons.

Customer reviews

By Tessel Kist 18 Feb 2014 5

If people ask me what my favourite book is, I never know what to answer. But if I'd really think about it. I'll say When You Reach Me. I like the cover in Dutch better, tough.

By TeensReadToo 25 Sep 2010 5

WHEN YOU REACH ME was a one-sitting read for me.

Miranda lives in New York City with her mother. She and her best friend, Sal, spend most of their time together, navigating the ins and outs of life, school, and their neighborhood. One day when walking home from school, Sal gets punched in the stomach by an older boy who hangs out down the street from their apartment building. Sal pulls away from Miranda after that and stops hanging out with her. Miranda feels completely lost without him.

Since Miranda isn't spending much time with Sal anymore, she has plenty of time to help her mother prepare for an appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid. Miranda and Richard, her mother's boyfriend, drill her every night on different questions that could appear on the show. Sal's mother even takes notes on the game show every day to help.

Losing Sal's friendship bothers Miranda a lot. Not having him to talk to is bad enough, but she really hates walking home alone. Not only does she have to walk by the group of older boys by herself, she also has to walk past the crazy old man by the mailbox. Then, the notes start arriving - notes telling her things about the future.

Can Miranda trust the notes? Can she really save the life of someone she knows by doing what they say? You'll love following along with the mystery to find out what Miranda does, who she saves, and what the old man has to do with it.

If you like WHEN YOU REACH ME, you need to find THE POWER OF UN by Nancy Etchemendy. It is fantastic and shares some of the same story elements.

By Lydia Presley 25 Sep 2010 5

I didn't read A Wrinkle in Time until I was 30 years old. After I finished reading it I distinctly remember putting it down and wishing I had read it as a child. There was so much beauty in it that I couldn't help but fall in love with it and feel sorrow at the same time.

While I did not feel as strongly for Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, I do think it is a beautifully written book and, even better, will inspire children to pick up A Wrinkle in Time if they haven't already. If they have, I think they will feel the urge, like I do, to pick it up and reacquaint myself with the story.

There are lots of reviews out there on this book. The majority of them are favorable and I agree with them. I found Miranda to be an interesting character, her friends to be fun and full of mystery (in the case of Sal), the events to be well thought out and everything.. from a 1970's game show to the issue of the homeless on the street came together to form a delightful, wistful, nostalgic story and one that I will pass on to my nieces and nephews ... along with their own copy of L'Engle's book to be worn and torn just like Miranda's was.

By Nicola Mansfield 13 Jul 2010 3

Reason for Reading: I'm working my way through reviewing all the Newbery winners.

Miranda has been best friends with Sal since they were in diapers, but one day Sal gets punched walking home from school and their friendship ends. Miranda starts running into the boy who punched him, Marcus, and they become acquaintances. Miranda loves the book A Wrinkle in Time and reads it over and over and over. Nobody can get her to try a different book and Marcus starts talking to her about the science behind the time-space travel component of the book. On Miranda's block there is a strange homeless man who talks about strange things, yells things out, talks to her, calls her "smart girl" and every now and then kicks his leg out into the street. He also sleeps with his head wedged under a mailbox. Oh, and Miranda also receives strange messages from an unknown person asking her to do things but most specifically to write the sender a letter. It isn't until the end of the book that all these elements come together and make perfect sense to Miranda.

An enjoyable book. The science fiction element is light and comes into play towards the end to explain all the strange events. The book also explores friendships as Miranda has relationships with a boy she's known from being a baby, a bully, a friendly neighbourhood woman, a crotchety old man, a girl who is made fun of at school, and a girl who has been dumped by the snooty popular girl, as well as the snooty girl herself. All of these people at some point Miranda befriends and she learns a lot about how appearances can be deceiving and to get to know the inside person before making judgments. Though sometimes a person's true self can a disappointment.

I thought the story was well-written, the characters likable and interesting. I read the book quickly and thought the ending was clever. The story never went past good, fine or ok with me though. From a Newbery winner I expect more.

Review quote

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2009: "[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say, 'Wow ... cool.'" Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009: "[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest." Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, July & August, 2009: "Closing revelations are startling and satisfying but quietly made, their reverberations giving plenty of impetus for the reader to go back to the beginning and catch what was missed." Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2009: "This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 22, 2009: "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." Review, People Magazine, July 13, 2009: "Absorbing." Review, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2009: "Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward." Review, The Washington Post Book World, July 15, 2009: "Incandescent." Review, The New York Times Book Review, August 16, 2009: "Smart and mesmerizing."