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When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
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 f...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780385737425
ISBN-10: 0385737424
Publication Date: 7/14/2009
Pages: 208
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 58

4.1 stars, based on 58 ratings
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 47
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed When You Reach Me on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

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.
reviewed When You Reach Me on + 122 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I think a lot of kids might have trouble getting into this book at first. A lot of kids today won't be familiar $20,000 Pyramid or A Wrinkle in Time, both of which are important to the storyline. But, if they stick with it the mystery is very interesting and keeps you guessing until the end.
As an adult, I really liked the story. Stead did a great job of capturing that age when you're first finding your identity.
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Plot Summary

Four mysterious letters change Mirandas world forever. By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where its 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 Mirandas mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. 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.

Critical Analysis

One of the themes of this low fantasy, science fiction, and mystery book is time travel. The setting of the book, New York City in the late 1970s, draws attention to time right from the beginning of the story. Another clue that time is important is that Mirandas favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time. The main character is Miranda, a sixth grader, and the story is told from her point of view. The story has many little mysteries and puzzles to figure out and the first person narration allows the reader access to Mirandas thoughts. Friendship is another theme that weaves itself through the book; Mirandas strained friendship with her childhood friend Sal, her growing friendship with Julia and Annemarie, and the guilt she feels over her new friendship with Marcus.

Cynthia Holloway, a narrator of more than thirty audiobooks, does an excellent job portraying the voice of Miranda. There are many threads to this book; time travel, friendship, single parent family dynamic, social class differences, epilepsy, future goals, and dreams. Rebecca Stead does a great job of tying all the threads into one cohesive tapestry of a very engaging story.


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