Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: When You Reach Me

To find out more about Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, click here.
Title: When You Reach Me 
Author: Rebecca Stead (link)
Genre: Mystery / Historical Fiction
Pub Date: July 2009

Synopsis: 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.

First Line: So Mom got the postcard today.

Stead's Newbery Medal-winning book spins up a yarn of mystery with a touch of science fiction. The story begins with tension as Miranda narrates her action to an unknown character - someone who has been writing her letters that seemingly predict the future. And in this future, the stakes are high. She soon realizes that she may be tasked with saving someone's life. As Miranda begins to unravel the puzzle, all the loose ends in her normal urban world pull together perfectly.

A Wrinkle in Time: The story takes place in the late '70s, when Dick Clark's The $20,000 Pyramid was all the rage (and $20k was worth a lot more than it is now). Kids might not recognize that it's set decades ago because the cues that date the book are subtle. This is mostly because the themes are universal, and the characters have problems, desires, and thoughts that stand the test of time. Setting plays a large part in the plot, as does L'Engle's The Wrinkle in Time, Miranda's favorite book.

Why You'll Love Miranda: Miranda is a latchkey kid with a mature, steady nature. Through most of the story, she's dealing with pretty normal middle grade issues. Her best friend won't talk to her. She's in a bit of a crush-y love triangle with her new pals. And her mom can be kind of flaky. But when she is tested in more adult ways by things like racism, or sticking up for someone being bullied, Miranda makes her readers proud.

You can always find more MMGM love here:
  • Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog
  • Jennifer Rumberger's blog
  • Joanne Fritz's blog
  • Danika Dinsmore's blog
  • Shannon O'Donnell's blog 
  • Natalie Aguirre's blog
  • Brooke Favero's blog
  • Barbara Watson's blog
  • Anita Laydon Miller's blog
  • Michael G-G's blog
  • Pam Torres's blog
  • Akoss-Nye Louwon's blog
  • Gabrielle Prendergast's blog
  • Kelly Polark's blog 
  • Isaiah J Campbell's blog 


  1. A writer friend of mine reviewed this book on goodreads a few weeks ago and both of you pointed out similar things that you liked.
    It's going on my tbr list now :)

  2. This is a fabulous story, and the way Rebecca Stead wove the historical time with elements of magic is simply divine.

  3. I've been hearing so much about this book lately; I really need to check it out! And maybe revisit A Wrinkle in Time, too, while I'm at it since it's been since middle school since I've read that one, which is a shame.

  4. I really loved this book. I wish I had time to read it again.

  5. I finally read When You Reach Me in January for the first time. I loved it. I loved the tie in to Wrinkle in Time and the twists! Great book.

  6. I read this one a couple years ago when it came out, and gave it to my 10 year old daughter recently. She loved it too, and has been recommending it to her friends.

  7. I loved this book when I read it last year. Very unique concept.

  8. I love this book! The twists and turns are such fun and definitely kept me guessing till the end.

  9. I've been meaning to read this book for a while. I need to finally get myself a copy!