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When You Reach Me
Cover of When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
(Newbery Medal Winner)
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"Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it...
"Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it...
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Description-

  • "Like A Wrinkle in Time (Miranda's favorite book), When You Reach Me far surpasses the usual whodunit or sci-fi adventure to become an incandescent exploration of 'life, death, and the beauty of it all.'" —The Washington Post
     
    This Newbery Medal winner that has been called "smart and mesmerizing," (The New York Times) and "superb" (The Wall Street Journal) will appeal to readers of all types, especially those who are looking for a thought-provoking mystery with a mind-blowing twist.
     
    Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.
     
    It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.
     
    Winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction
    A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book
    Five Starred Reviews
    A Junior Library Guild Selection
     
    "Absorbing." —People
    "Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward." —The Wall Street Journal
     
    "Lovely and almost impossibly clever." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
     
    "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." —Publishers Weekly, Starred review

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • 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 swiped a big paper calendar from work and Scotch-taped the month of April to the kitchen wall. She used a fat green marker, also swiped from work, to draw a pyramid on April 27, with dollar signs and exclamation points all around it.

    She went out and bought a fancy egg timer that can accurately measure a half minute. They don't have fancy egg timers in the supply closet at her office.

    April twenty-seventh is also Richard's birthday. Mom wonders if that's a good omen. Richard is Mom's boyfriend. He and I are going to help Mom practice every single night, which is why I'm sitting at my desk instead of watching after-school TV, which is a birthright of every latchkey child. "Latchkey child" is a name for a kid with keys who hangs out alone after school until a grown-up gets home to make dinner. Mom hates that expression. She says it reminds her of dungeons, and must have been invented by someone strict and awful with an unlimited child-care budget. "Probably someone German," she says, glaring at Richard, who is German but not strict or awful.

    It's possible. In Germany, Richard says, I would be one of the Schlusselkinder, which means "key children."

    "You're lucky," he tells me. "Keys are power. Some of us have to come knocking." It's true that he doesn't have a key. Well, he has a key to his apartment, but not to ours.

    Richard looks the way I picture guys on sailboats—tall, blond, and very tucked-in, even on weekends. Or maybe I picture guys on sailboats that way because Richard loves to sail. His legs are very long, and they don't really fit under our kitchen table, so he has to sit kind of sideways, with his knees pointing out toward the hall. He looks especially big next to Mom, who's short and so tiny she has to buy her belts in the kids' department and make an extra hole in her watchband so it won't fall off her arm.

    Mom calls Richard Mr. Perfect because of how he looks and how he knows everything. And every time she calls him Mr. Perfect, Richard taps his right knee. He does that because his right leg is shorter than his left one. All his right-foot shoes have...

About the Author-

  • REBECCA STEAD is the author of When You Reach Me, which was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, and Liar & Spy, which was also a New York Times bestseller, won the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction, and was on multiple state master lists and best of the year lists. Her most recent book, Goodbye Stranger, was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of First Light, which was nominated for many state awards. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her online at rebeccasteadbooks.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 22, 2009
    Twelve-year-old Miranda, a latchkey kid whose single mother is a law school dropout, narrates this complex novel, a work of science fiction grounded in the nitty-gritty of Manhattan life in the late 1970s. Miranda’s story is set in motion by the appearance of cryptic notes that suggest that someone is watching her and that they know things about her life that have not yet happened. She’s especially freaked out by one that reads: “I’m coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.” Over the course of her sixth-grade year, Miranda details three distinct plot threads: her mother’s upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid
    ; the sudden rupture of Miranda’s lifelong friendship with neighbor Sal; and the unsettling appearance of a deranged homeless person dubbed “the laughing man.” Eventually and improbably, these strands converge to form a thought-provoking whole. Stead (First Light
    ) accomplishes this by making every detail count, including Miranda’s name, her hobby of knot tying and her favorite book, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time
    . 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. Ages 9–14.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from July 1, 2009
    Gr 5-8-Sixth-grader Miranda lives in 1978 New York City with her mother, and her life compass is Madeleine LEngles "A Wrinkle in Time". When she receives a series of enigmatic notes that claim to want to save her life, she comes to believe that they are from someone who knows the future. Miranda spends considerable time observing a raving vagrant who her mother calls the laughing man and trying to find the connection between the notes and her everyday life. Discerning readers will realize the ties between Mirandas mystery and LEngles plot, but will enjoy hints of fantasy and descriptions of middle school dynamics. Steads novel is as much about character as story. Mirandas voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise. As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an intriguing way. The setting is consistently strong. The stores and even the streetsin Mirandas neighborhood act as physical entities and impact the plot in tangible ways. This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT"

    Copyright 2009 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2009
    Grades 4-7 *Starred Review* If this book makes your head hurt, youre not alone. Sixth-grader Miranda admits that the events she relates make her head hurt, too. Time travel will do that to you.The storytakes placein 1979, though time frames, as readers learn, arerelative.Miranda and Sal have been best friends since way before that. They both live in a tired Manhattanapartment building and walk home together from school.One dayeverything changes. Sal is kicked and punched by a schoolmate andafterward barely acknowledges Miranda. Which leaves her to make new friends, even as she continues to reread her ratty copy of A Wrinkle in Time and tutor her mother for a chance to compete on The$20,000 Pyramid. She also ponders a puzzling, even alarming series of events that begins with a note: I am coming to save your friends life, and my own . . . you must write me a letter. Mirandas first-person narrative is the letter she is sending to the future. Or is it the past? Its hard to know if the key events ultimately make sense (head hurting!), and itseems the whys, if not the hows, of apivotal characters actionsare nottruly explained. Yet everything else is quite wonderful. The 70s New York setting is an honest reverberation of the era; the mental gymnastics required ofreadersare invigorating; and the characters, children and adults, are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest. Just as Mirandarereads LEngle, children will return to this.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

  • Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
    "[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.'"
  • Booklist, Starred review "[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."
  • The Horn Book Magazine, Starred review "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."
  • School Library Journal, Starred review "This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."
  • Publishers Weekly, Starred review "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."
  • The Washington Post [T]he believable characters and unexpected ending invite readers to ponder the extraordinary that underlies the ordinary in this fictional world and in their own."
  • People "Absorbing."
  • The Wall Street Journal "Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."

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    Random House Children's Books
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