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.
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.