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When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
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 f...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780739380727
ISBN-10: 0739380729
Publication Date: 7/14/2009
Edition: Unabridged
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.

4.3 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Book Type: Audio CD
Other Versions: Paperback, Hardcover
Members Wishing: 5
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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

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 + 150 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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reviewed When You Reach Me on + 962 more book reviews
Every once in a while there comes along a book that is so unique, so awe-inspiring, that you have to immediately rave about it to everyone around who reads books. WHEN YOU REACH ME is such a book. Rebecca Stead's second novel is a middle-grade treasure that people will hopefully stumble upon and love all their lives.

My favorite part about this book was, of course, the sci-fi time-travel aspect, which was seamlessly woven into a coming-of-age story set in post-Vietnam War New York City. WHEN YOU REACH ME references Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time heavily, which means that it will appeal to about 95% of readers, though Stead's appeal is less fantasy and more about how seemingly impossible concepts can fit smoothly into our conceptions of our world. It's not often that you get to read a science-y book that blows away all your expectations and predictions.

Besides for the sci-fi aspect, WHEN YOU REACH ME is also a charming coming-of-age novel with memorable characters. Miranda deals wonderfully with her family and classmates: she's at that stage where she struggles to figure out who she thought she was in new situations. Perhaps the characters could've been developed slightly more, but readers come out of the experience very much impressed, and will have difficulty finding anything lacking.

In short, WHEN YOU REACH ME is 2009's not-to-be-missed middle-grade novel. Its lovely blend of reality and sci-fi makes it truly stand out, and Stead's impeccable writing draws us right into Miranda's world. Be sure to get your hands on a copy of this book in any way possible!