Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Publisher:  Random House Children's Books
Date Published:  12/28/2010
ISBN:  9780375850868
Genre:  YA/MG Sci-Fi
Grade Equivalent: 4.6
Interest Level:  Grades 6-8
Lexile:  750L

It is the years 1978-79 in New York City, and Miranda and Sal are in sixth grade.  The two are best friends.  They have learned to survive the city – know where and when it is safe to be – until one day, Sal gets punched.  After that, nothing is the same for the two of them.

Sal no longer wants to be friends, so Miranda has to find new friends, and helps her mother prepare for her appearance on $20,000 Pyramid.   She starts to notice things about people and life.

One day, she starts getting mysterious notes.  As they arrive, Miranda starts to realize that the sender knows things before they happen.  One note says "I am coming to save your friend's live, and my own."  It causes her to consider events from her favorite novel A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'engle.

Miranda begins to believe that it is her responsibility to save someone's life.  Then the final not arrives, and she thinks it might be too late to take on this challenge.

This novel carries many of the qualities of A Wrinkle in Time.  It is a mind-grasping mystery, and coming of age story, and has that twist of science fiction thrown in for added measure.  

I loved the mind-bending nature of the novel.  It didn't drag me in at first, but after a while, I just couldn't put it down.  I just had to know what was going to happen next.  So, don't give up after the first few pages.  I thought the structure of the novel was very fascinating.  Miranda's mother was preparing for the $20,000 Pyramid game show where she has to guess the categories of words she is given (e.g.  trees, flowers, pets:  things that are living).  The chapter names are given in the same fashion (e.g.  Things You Line Up).

This novel is probably not one that I would have individually selected based on the book cover - jut not something that caught my eye.  However, because it was a recommendation, I took on the challenge.  I am so glad that I did.  I am very satisfied with the read, and wish it were still going on.  I am definitely going to read more books by this author.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I know a lot of folks would have missed out on this one, because of the cover or description, but I'm so glad you gave it a try. I loved the mind-bending aspects as well - it was completely unexpected for me!


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