When You Reach Me

A few years ago I read a book called The Power of Un by Nancy Etchemendy. At the time, I did not consider myself to be a reader of science fiction, but afterward I was hooked. I remember being a little confused throughout the story and constantly picking my brain to figure out what was going on. Since then, I’ve read the story 3-4 more times, and each time I see new clues, new foreshadowing that I didn’t see before.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is that kind of book. It’s a great piece of realistic fiction with some light science fiction woven in. It’s captivating. It’s mysterious. It’s confusing! (but in a good kind of way). It wasn’t until the very last page of the book that I “got it”, and now I want to go back and start reading it all over again.

Miranda, the main character, is a latch key kid who has learned the safety of New York City streets from her mother. Her and her friend Sal do everything together, but suddenly things change when Sal is punched by some kid on the street and Miranda begins receiving mysterious notes that seem like they are from the future. I honestly can’t say much more about the plot without giving something away, but I hope that you can trust that this is an incredible book.

I read most of it aloud to myself and my daughter, and I was in awe at Miranda’s voice. Rebecca Stead captured the consciousness of a sixth grader and created a believable and remarkable character. Rebecca is a strong girl and she learns how to pull the most important things out of life and tie them together just as she ties the string knots taught to her by her mom’s boyfriend, Richard.

This book was very deserving of the Newbery Medal, and I think both kids and adults will enjoy every moment of this book.

Reviewed by Mr. Plemmons

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