Friday, July 24, 2009

When You Reach Me

Wow. That was my reaction to the book I started – and finished – reading last night. Wow.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

It’s a tale of friendship. It’s a tale of mystery. It’s a tale of impossibilities made possible.

Miranda and Sal have been the best of friends since they first met as babies. Now, at the beginning of the 1978-1979 school year, they are in sixth grade. Miranda is hurt when Sal says he no longer wants to be around her. This is the beginning of her world turning upside down. Over the next few months Miranda befriends new people, helps her mom practice for the quiz game show The $20,000 Pyramid and discusses time travel with another sixth grader (after he sees her much-loved, much-read tattered copy of A Wrinkle in Time). And…she begins to receive mysterious notes – that predict the future.

Told in first person as Miranda contemplates how to write the letter asked of her, she tells the story leading up to the request…and her deliberation about fulfilling it.

Miranda’s mixture of maturity and innocence enhances the realness of her character.

When You Reach Me overflows with the WOW factor. It is a story that sticks to you. I honestly think I dreamt of it last night. I know I woke up thinking about it! At first, I was intrigued by the book because of the central element of A Wrinkle in Time – a book that I also adored as a child (I also owned a much-read, much-loved tattered copy. I think I even lost the cover). Thanks to When You Reach Me, I now see that beautiful tale in a new light.

As of right now, I’m hoping for a Newbery nod for this one.

Now go…read this book!

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