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When You Reach Me Hardcover – June 14, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 759 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: FBApowersetup; 1 edition (June 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004X8W468
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (759 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amy Tiemann on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"When You Reach Me" is a rare gem of young adult fiction: an involving story whose subtle writing and characterization pull you in as much as the mystery that binds the story together. I liked the slice of life of 1979 New York as twelve-year old Miranda and her friends explore their neighborhood, giving us a bit of a Free-Range Kids perspective on days gone by.

Miranda gains and loses friends, and grapples with normal sixth-grade angst, but her worries take on a new twist when she discovers mysterious notes from someone who tries to convince her that he or she can see things that have not happened yet, adding fantasy and sci-fi into this realistic setting where you'd least expect it. Once the mystery has been solved, many readers will want to go back and read the story a second time to see how the pieces fit together in a new light.

In a thematic parallel, Miranda's experiences reflect her own shifting ability to see situations through other people's eyes. She also learns that giving or withholding small acts of kindness or meanness can have big consequences. What I love though is that the story is told in a way that does not feel at all preachy.

This is a great book for anyone ages 10 and up. It would be okay for younger kids, but those readers have so many choices that I would save "When You Reach Me" for age 10, because in my experience it's harder to find good books for that age. Also, the point of view of the story is a bit tricky (skillful, but unconventional), as Miranda writes to her mystery correspondent, which could be confusing for younger readers but an interesting challenge for older kids.
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Format: Hardcover
I have wanted to read this book ever since I heard librarian Nancy Pearl talk about it on NPR. She said the magic words: she said it was an homage to Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, one of my very favorite novels when I was a child a million years ago.

A Wrinkle in Time is also the favorite novel of 12-year-old Miranda, a sixth grader living in Manhattan in 1978. Miranda is rehearsing a story in her head. She needs to tell the story to a somewhat scary unknown person who's been leaving her hidden notes and appears to know the future. The first note says, "I am coming to save your friend's life and my own." It asks Miranda to write a letter relating the story of the events of the novel, and it asks that she deliver the letter by hand.

This is a bizarre and meaningless request when Miranda first reads it. But as the story unfolds, slowly, slowly, everything becomes clear. By the time you get to the end, you will understand everything that Miranda did.

Nancy Pearl and her librarian friends are predicting that When You Reach Me will win the Newberry Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." Let's see... The writing is excellent. The character's breathe life. The plotting is superlative. And one more thing--by the time I reached the end, I was truly moved. I don't know if it was the story's poignancy or if I was just feeling nostalgic or if it was something in between, but for a few hours this 41-year-old was 12 again. And if that's not time travel, I don't know what is.
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Format: Hardcover
BOOK REVIEW: WHEN YOU REACH ME

I'll never forget the day I learned the wonders of the Mobiüs strip...mathematics wasn't my thing - I am a word nerd. So I was caught off guard when I was handed a thin blue strip of paper. "Now put a small twist in it like this," he explained. "Next, bring the ends together and tape them, like so." Then, I took my pencil, as instructed, and drew a thin carbon line, starting on the outside. I was stunned when I eventually connected it back and had one continuous strand, looping around on itself. I hung up that paper in my room and would stare at it, trying to figure out how it all worked. Not really understanding the physics behind it all, but loving the impossible rightness of it all.

That's the way I felt about WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. It is just SO perfect, so impossible, so right...so perfectly impossibly right. I was stunned when I finished it, too. I propped it on the arm of the chair and just stared at the cover. "What in the world are you doing?" my husband asked. I was taking it in...turning the story over in my mind...reflecting on the perfect circle I had traveled. I could only say, "Wow." This book is an original, showing me logical ideas that seemed almost enchanted. Oh. My.

Here's the official summary: "As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1970's television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space."

What the official summary for WHEN YOU REACH ME does not tell you is that this mid-grade novel will make you laugh...and then cry.
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