When You Reach Me

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When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Random House Children's Books | July 14, 2009 | Hardcover

When You Reach Me is rated 4.25 out of 5 by 4.
Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal

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 for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

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. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 pages, 8.57 × 5.97 × 0.85 in

Published: July 14, 2009

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385737424

ISBN - 13: 9780385737425

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Different This book is very good. It was definitley a different book, with characters I found somewhat hard to understand. I could see the story happening before my eyes, even though some parts were really boring and stretched out. When You Reach Me is a good book, one worth reading, but not one of my personal favourites.
Date published: 2012-12-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quirky Reason for Reading: I'm working my way through reviewing all the Newbery winners. Miranda has been best friends with Sal since they were in diapers, but one day Sal gets punched walking home from school and their friendship ends. Miranda starts running into the boy who punched him, Marcus, and they become acquaintances. Miranda loves the book A Wrinkle in Time and reads it over and over and over. Nobody can get her to try a different book and Marcus starts talking to her about the science behind the time-space travel component of the book. On Miranda's block there is a strange homeless man who talks about strange things, yells things out, talks to her, calls her "smart girl" and every now and then kicks his leg out into the street. He also sleeps with his head wedged under a mailbox. Oh, and Miranda also receives strange messages from an unknown person asking her to do things but most specifically to write the sender a letter. It isn't until the end of the book that all these elements come together and make perfect sense to Miranda. An enjoyable book. The science fiction element is light and comes into play towards the end to explain all the strange events. The book also explores friendships as Miranda has relationships with a boy she's known from being a baby, a bully, a friendly neighbourhood woman, a crotchety old man, a girl who is made fun of at school, and a girl who has been dumped by the snooty popular girl, as well as the snooty girl herself. All of these people at some point Miranda befriends and she learns a lot about how appearances can be deceiving and to get to know the inside person before making judgments. Though sometimes a person's true self can a disappointment. I thought the story was well-written, the characters likable and interesting. I read the book quickly and thought the ending was clever. The story never went past good, fine or ok with me though. From a Newbery winner I expect more.
Date published: 2010-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutly Loved It I love Madeleine L'Engle and her book A Wrinkle In Time. This book makes numerous references to both. When I met Madeleine L'Engle at a conference a few years ago she stated that her characters are alive to her, and every now and again she will realize something new happened in their life. This book has that feel; as I read it, and even after finishing, I found myself thinking about the characters - where they are now, what they are up to. I think L'Engle would have loved that about this book. The story takes place in a very small geographic region in New York City, focusing around a 6th grade girl Miranda, her friends and family. She finds a note indicating that the author is trying to save her friend's life and their own life. The author of the note indicates that they know the future and give her dates and times of events yet to happen to prove they are telling the truth. What they are asking for in return is that Miranda tells them her story, specifically that she write it out and when the time comes she will know who to give it to. The story is wonderfully written from Miranda's perspective, looking back on the past few months. It is about lifting the veil between what we perceive and what is real, what is actual and what is possible. It is about the potential in humans for growth and change. C.S. Lewis stated "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." This book helps to wipe some of the dirt and grime off the glass and allows us to see a little more clearly. Yes it is true the story became predictable, especially for a fan of L'Engle, but the way it happens still makes it worth reading. It is a wonderful book - a book about hope, a book about change and a book about coming into yourself. If Stead's writings continue to ask questions like this one, does she have the potential to become a favourite author of mine, and maybe even a legend like L'Engle?
Date published: 2010-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Perfectly Spun Story Over the weekend, I curled with Rebecca Stead’s Newbery Medal winning book WHEN YOU REACH ME and found it enchanting and completely delightful. Like last year’s winner, Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK which alluded to Kipling’s THE JUNGLE BOOK, Stead writes in the tradition of Madeleine L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME. For it is twelve-year-old Melinda’s favourite book. Like a security blanket, she carries her battered copy everywhere she goes. Considering that she is no longer speaking to her best friend Sal and there are strange people lurking under mailboxes, it is no wonder that she needs something familiar close by. I don’t want to tell you the plot or the premise of this novel, because I think it will give pieces of it away. Instead, I will convey to you how this story is told. This is a story to be read without a full understanding of what is happening, because watching it unfold is part of the joy. Melinda is telling us a story, but the story itself isn’t directed at us, but at someone who has asked her to write him a letter of the events that had led up to a particular moment in time. So, Melinda takes us back to the moment where she felt like everything changed and by telling her story shows that seemingly insignificant people and events are sometimes more significant than we are aware. And that if we are lucky, we can see when the veil of time and space is lifted and how everything interconnects with everything else. I recommend this for anyone who enjoyed THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX because it has the same kind of depth that that novel had while still being an easy read. Stead’s use of L’Engle’s classic will not only bring a new generation of readers to the Time Quartet Series, but inspire and older ones to return to that wrinkle in time when we read a book that helped us understand ourselves and the world a little better.
Date published: 2010-02-09

– More About This Product –

When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 pages, 8.57 × 5.97 × 0.85 in

Published: July 14, 2009

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385737424

ISBN - 13: 9780385737425

About the Book

"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 for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's 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. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.

Read from the Book

Things You Keep in a Box So Mom got the postcard today. It says Congratulations in big curly letters, and at the very top is the address of Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street. After three years of trying, she has actually made it. She''s going to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid, which is hosted by Dick Clark. On the postcard there''s a list of things to bring. She needs some extra clothes in case she wins and makes it to another show, where they pretend it''s the next day even though they really tape five in one afternoon. Barrettes are optional, but she should definitely bring some with her. Unlike me, Mom has glossy red hair that bounces around and might obstruct America''s view of her small freckled face. And then there''s the date she''s supposed to show up, scrawled in blue pen on a line at the bottom of the card: April 27, 1979. Just like you said. I check the box under my bed, which is where I''ve kept your notes these past few months. There it is, in your tiny handwriting: April 27th: Studio TV-15, the words all jerky-looking, like you wrote them on the subway. Your last "proof." I still think about the letter you asked me to write. It nags at me, even though you''re gone and there''s no one to give it to anymore. Sometimes I work on it in my head, trying to map out the story you asked me to tell, about everything that happened this past fall and winter. It''s all still there, like a movie I can watch when I want to. Which is never. Things That Go Missing Mom has
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From the Publisher

Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Medal

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 for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

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. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

From the Jacket

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2009:
"[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow ... cool.'"

Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009:
"[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest."

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, July & August 2009:

"Closing revelations are startling and satisfying but quietly made, their reverberations giving plenty of impetus for the reader to go back to the beginning and catch what was missed."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2009:
"This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 22, 2009:
"It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises."

Review, People Magazine, July 13, 2009:
"Absorbing."

Review, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2009:
"Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."

About the Author

Rebecca Stead is the author of First Light. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two sons.

Editorial Reviews

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2009:
"[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda''s Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,''Wow ... cool.''"

Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009:
"[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest."

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, July & August, 2009:
"Closing revelations are startling and satisfying but quietly made, their reverberations giving plenty of impetus for the reader to go back to the beginning and catch what was missed."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2009:
"This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 22, 2009:
"It''s easy to imagine readers studying Miranda''s story as many times as she''s read L''Engle''s, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises."

Review, People Magazine, July 13, 2009:
"Absorbing."

Review, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2009:
"Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."

Review, The Washington Post Book World, July 15, 2009:
“Incandescent.”

Review, The New York Times Book Review, August 16, 2009:
"Smart and mesmerizing."

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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