Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
Genre: Middle Grade/Science Fiction(ish)
Publisher: Random House (Wendy Lamb Books)
Source: Public Library
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’ve wanted to read this book ever since Emily reviewed it back in August. And then it won the Newbury Medal. And then everyone in Pinellas County wanted to read it so I had to wait a very long time to get it from the library. But it was worth the wait.
When You Reach Me is the kind of book I wish existed when I was a young girl. Just like the main character, Miranda, I loved A Wrinkle in Time. I did not carry it around everywhere like she does, but I still possess my well-worn copy.
When You Reach Me has wonderfully quirky characters. Miranda’s mom is training for the $20,000 Pyramid, her best friend’s dad is full of never-ending snacks wrapped in bows, and the sandwich shop owner trades cheese sandwiches for an hour’s work each day. These characters weave their way through a creative and intriguing plot. I really don’t want to say to much more because you should discover this book on your own.
This unique coming of age novel blends time travel, friendship, and just good storytelling. How can you not love that in middle grade fiction?