Thursday, August 19, 2010

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead

Summary:  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 who to avoid.  Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel.  Sal gets punched by a kid on the street 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 a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

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

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know.  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. 

This remarkable novel takes place in the real world but holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart.  When You Reach Me is an original, and a brilliant and profound delight.  (Summary from book jacket and image from

My Review:  I picked up this book because it was selected for book club.  I've noticed it many times before and just hadn't gotten around to it.  I'm glad I did.  I feel the summary does a good job giving you the basics, so I'll let that stand. 

About half way through the story I had figured out who was leaving the notes, and although I already had it figured out, it was still fun to see how all the details tied together.  There are so many hints and clues as the story progresses, that by the end you're having aha! moment after aha! moment.  Which was fun.  There were some messages, albeit mostly underlying, that hinted of liberal agenda.  If that's your thing it shouldn't bother you at all.  If not, I still think everyone can appreciate the humanity this story brings out and the reminder to be aware of how we treat others.  I loved how it kept making connections to the protagonist's favorite book A Wrinkle In Time and how it had made such a lasting impact on her.  There are so many little details that I could mention, but I believe that would take away from the fun of reading such a short, fast-paced book.

Rating: 5 Stars...for a Young Adult Book.

Sum it up:  If you liked A Wrinkle In Time, this is another great YA puzzle book.

1 comment:

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Wasn't won over by this book.


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