Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Newbery Award Winner (2010)

This was a lovely book. I look forward to when my kids can read it.

Here is a summary from the jacket cover:
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.

I highly recommend this book. There's mystery and humor and a mother who's diligently preparing to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark. You just can't beat that. Miranda is quite savvy and interesting and she comes to know herself and those she cares about in a unique way.

For me, every book has a sentence in it that makes me say to myself--see, that's why I want to be a writer. Here's an example of such a sentence.

“So I had to sit there, thirsty, and then I had to put on my warm, but still-dirty coat and take the elevator down to Annemarie’s lobby, where the lamps glowed yellow and the doorman remembered my name. It had stopped raining.” p. 113

As much as I enjoyed this book, I might have loved it even more if I’d read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, the novel which helps Miranda figure everything out. Madeleine L’Engle spoke at my college graduation. I think it’s time I read her books.

I discovered Rebecca Stead has a blog and I have added it to my list of sites to stalk. She mentioned she’d just read Stephen King’s On Writing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering being a writer. I will never read a Stephen King novel, but I found him very interesting and quite brilliant.

I look forward to more from Rebecca Stead AND hearing from you!!


  1. I read this last week. Very cute and entertaining. Thanks for the reccomendation!