When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead

Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
ISBN: 9780385737425
Pages: 208
Release Date: July 14, 2009
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Genre: Teen/YA
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Miranda’s best friend is no longer speaking to her and she doesn’t know why.  All she knows is that it began when some random guy punched him for no reason when they were walking home from school.  What’s more, Miranda has started receiving mysterious notes from someone that seems to know more about her than they should, in some cases more than even she knows.  As Miranda starts reaching out to new friends, she learns a lot about herself in this sweet story.

Review:

I’m not much of a fan of middle grade fiction, which is fiction that usually features middle school age kids.  (YA usually has high school age characters).  The protagonists are often too young for me to sympathize with and I just don’t have a lot of interest in the genre.  However, I have heard amazing things about When You Reach Me, mostly on Twitter and through other bloggers’ reviews.  People rave about this book, and it made me curious enough to accept a review offer, just so I could see what the book was about.  I was surprised to find it was an impressive novel that is definitely worth reading for its creative story and appealing main character.

When You Reach Me is a very well-written novel.  Stead’s prose is spare, yet elegant and really draws the reader into the story.  The Madeleine L’Engle classic novel A Wrinkle in Time is heavily featured in this book.  In fact, I can’t say I’d recommend reading When You Reach Me if you aren’t at least familiar with this book.  Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is because of the constant A Wrinkle in Time references, and the ingenious way that Stead weaves it into the story.  It’s an amazing thing she does which proves how talented of a writer Rebecca Stead is.

Miranda was a wonderfully drawn character that I enjoyed getting to know.  It’s really difficult to write believable children – often times, they are too precocious and complicated.  Stead does a wonderful job getting into the mind of a child, which made it a pleasure to read.

When You Reach Me is a sweet book with a wonderful mystery at its heart.  I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a quick light read, even if (like me) you usually don’t pick up books in this genre.  It’s a cute novel that’s worth reading for its well-developed characters and simple lessons about how to treat people and be a friend.  It’s a great book for children and adults alike!

Comments

  1. So glad to hear you enjoyed your foray into middle grade fiction!

  2. So glad to hear you enjoyed your foray into middle grade fiction!

  3. I just read this on Saturday and I completely agree with your review.

  4. I just read this on Saturday and I completely agree with your review.

  5. I really enjoyed this book, and wanted to read it again straight away. I’ve never read A Wrinkle in Time, so I didn’t get all those references, but I think I did okay without it.

    I loved the ending!

  6. I really enjoyed this book, and wanted to read it again straight away. I’ve never read A Wrinkle in Time, so I didn’t get all those references, but I think I did okay without it.

    I loved the ending!

  7. It sounds like all the hype I’ve been hearing is true!

  8. It sounds like all the hype I’ve been hearing is true!

  9. I just had lunch with my Scholastic Book Fair rep today, and she mentioned this book. I’m definitely going to have to read this, as it is a featured book this spring at the fair.

  10. I just had lunch with my Scholastic Book Fair rep today, and she mentioned this book. I’m definitely going to have to read this, as it is a featured book this spring at the fair.

  11. This is definitely on my wishlist, for I’ve heard nothing but raves about it.

  12. This is definitely on my wishlist, for I’ve heard nothing but raves about it.

  13. Hummm. I may look into this because the Wrinkle in Time references.

  14. Hummm. I may look into this because the Wrinkle in Time references.

  15. I’ve read so much about this book, and now I’ve seen it here, I think I better read it.

  16. I’ve read so much about this book, and now I’ve seen it here, I think I better read it.

  17. I liked this book as I was reading it, but I pretty much forgot it as soon as it was over.

  18. I liked this book as I was reading it, but I pretty much forgot it as soon as it was over.

  19. Read this one twice and loved it more the second time. My new favorite MG novel is LOVE, AUBREY! Can’t get Aubrey out of my head. Feel as if I truly know her.

  20. Read this one twice and loved it more the second time. My new favorite MG novel is LOVE, AUBREY! Can’t get Aubrey out of my head. Feel as if I truly know her.

  21. So glad you liked this one — I just bought it last week! It seemed like so many bloggers were raving about it, I couldn’t resist the alluring of investing. Can’t wait to read it!

  22. So glad you liked this one — I just bought it last week! It seemed like so many bloggers were raving about it, I couldn’t resist the alluring of investing. Can’t wait to read it!

  23. I just read this book yesterday afternoon and I loved it. I thought it was such a sweet little book!

  24. I just read this book yesterday afternoon and I loved it. I thought it was such a sweet little book!

  25. I love Stead’s focus on the theme of friendship. Specifically, the novel addresses the question of how to hold on to old friendships without stifling them, and it insightfully brings out the stabilizing effect that new friendships can have in the effort to preserve or reclaim old ones. I’m holding back here in order not to spoil the plot, but suffice to say that the novel’s narrative reflections on friendship are extremely thoughtful and resonant. This theme of friendship will speak deeply to tweens navigating the frequently tumultuous social world of middle school.

    Finally, the book is also just very clever. For example, Miranda’s mother wants to win on The $20,000 Pyramid. The final part of the game show is called the “Winner’s Circle”, in which a set of objects is described to the contestant and she is required to say what category the objects belong to. So, if the objects were “a tube of toothpaste, someone’s hand” the contestant would say “things you squeeze”. Stead cleverly titles most of the chapters in the book with categories like that, such as “Things You Keep in a Box,” “Things That Go Missing,” and “Things You Hide.” And sure enough, Stead puts objects in each chapter that fit into these titular categories. After a while, it became a fun extra game to find what the “things that smell” or “things that kick” were in the chapter I was reading!

  26. I love Stead’s focus on the theme of friendship. Specifically, the novel addresses the question of how to hold on to old friendships without stifling them, and it insightfully brings out the stabilizing effect that new friendships can have in the effort to preserve or reclaim old ones. I’m holding back here in order not to spoil the plot, but suffice to say that the novel’s narrative reflections on friendship are extremely thoughtful and resonant. This theme of friendship will speak deeply to tweens navigating the frequently tumultuous social world of middle school.

    Finally, the book is also just very clever. For example, Miranda’s mother wants to win on The $20,000 Pyramid. The final part of the game show is called the “Winner’s Circle”, in which a set of objects is described to the contestant and she is required to say what category the objects belong to. So, if the objects were “a tube of toothpaste, someone’s hand” the contestant would say “things you squeeze”. Stead cleverly titles most of the chapters in the book with categories like that, such as “Things You Keep in a Box,” “Things That Go Missing,” and “Things You Hide.” And sure enough, Stead puts objects in each chapter that fit into these titular categories. After a while, it became a fun extra game to find what the “things that smell” or “things that kick” were in the chapter I was reading!

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