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Showing 1-10 of 450 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 834 reviews
on June 1, 2017
What an engaging book. I love the idea of that this revolves around that old game show, in a blurry background kind of way, $20,000 Pyramid. I grew up watching that show, perhaps some reruns—I can't know for sure, because I was born the time in which this is set. So, the fall of 1978 and the winter heading into 1979, are not in my memory banks. I love that this takes place during the time in which I was born but could not remember. But, that orange and brown haze which seems to define that era, is alive and well within the confines of When You Reach Me.

Revolving around an old Dick Clark hosted game show seems a little gimmicky on the surface, but Stead manages it deftly by setting it as a soft backdrop and a framing device. With Pyramid chapter titles, i.e., Things You Count, Things You Push Away, Salty Things, etc, you have a clever and grounding way to deliver these episodic moments from Miranda's life and hold onto that tie to the game show and her mother's appearance on it, coming up that spring.

The notes, and the missing items, provide a fantastic puzzle for the reader to unravel. The personal problems Miranda has to deal with are simple by definition but complex and tricky in life. Figuring out who you are and trying to understand the people around you is something at which everyone, at every age, struggles. Miranda is on the cusp of something extraordinary with the notes and the eventual discovery, but she's also on that cusp of heading into her teenage years, that apex which everyone must traverse as you leave childhood.

Not only do I adore this book, I would’ve absolutely loved it when I was in the target age range. I loved it so much, just because it's an entertaining book to read, that, after returning my borrowed copy to the library, I immediately ordered the hardcover for my sons to read.
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on April 4, 2017
Borrowing greatly from L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time, Rebecca Stead wrote a wandering story about a young girl who finds herself at the center of a mystery. Though the majority of the book seems to simply be a slice of life, the conclusion is straight out of an M. Night Shyamalan tale. I felt that the interactions among the characters were authentic and unforced. Unlike so many of the self-deprecating narrators in YA fiction, Miranda was confident and yet not precocious (she wasn't the 'best or brightest', but also not unfailingly lacking either). In other words, she was real, average.

Though I can't say the 'Ah Ha' moment came as a complete surprise, I did look back at early sections to check the bread crumbs Stead had laid. All in all, this was an enjoyable read and the ending made it worth the while.
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on July 17, 2017
I had no idea what to expect from When You Reach Me, but I ended up loving it. Perhaps as an adult reader, I would give this four stars, but I'm trying to view children's books through the lens of a young reader. I know this is a book I would have been obsessed with as a kid. Miranda is a great protagonist, and her world is a realistic one. The story itself is smart - it doesn't attempt to talk down to the reader, but rather gives kids a lot credit. There were a couple of loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up in the end, but overall, I was happy with the way it ended.

I'll definitely be looking for more of Rebecca Stead's books at the library!
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on February 1, 2016
I know I'm in the minority here. The characters are interesting, and it has an interesting twist at the end. However, it took a long time to get there with a story that doesn't really seem to go anywhere. Though I respect that it has a lot of merit from a literary standpoint, I read this to my 5th grade son, and it was hard for me to get him engaged in the story. It could be one of those award-winning children's books that the parents enjoy and appreciate more than the kids.
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on May 29, 2017
I was eager to read this book because it won a Newberry award, but it wasn't as exciting as I had hoped it would be. It may be in part due to the fact that I have been reading mostly YA books and this one involves a lot less of the elements of YA that I'm used to, but I still enjoyed it and finished it in a few hours!

I am usually horrible at predicting what will happen in stories, but I had a hunch that the ending would relate to the laughing man and time travel. I will admit my brain was stuck at some of time travel conversation, but I got it overall.

I liked how everything tied together at the end; everything was explained and made sense. Very cute story.
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on February 14, 2015
I purchased this because several literary agents mentioned it as a favorite. And, the premise of the story interested me. Once the introduction of the game show, how it works and details about how the mother is preparing for it passed, I couldn't put the novel down. The author managed to bring in so many details about her characters in such a natural way. All the while she wove pieces of the story itself together as beautifully as a pretty braid and propelled it to a tension-filled ending. I would recommend this story to kids and adults. It contains some good societal messages and information, brings us back to a time when kids could go out and about on their own without much parental policing and is just a really neat and well-told story.
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on May 26, 2016
A Wrinkle In Time has always been one of my favorite books; this is one of the few books that has grabbed me in the same way. It's NOT a copy or imitation; it's nothing like AWiT, but AWIT does play a huge role. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Rebecca Stead, if you're reading this, I wrote a fan letter to Madeleine L'Engle in 1985. She answered--and her signature was just the way you describe.
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on May 16, 2017
When Miranda receives the first mysterious letter, she tries to convince herself it was meant for someone else. When she gets the second one, she knows there was no mistake. As she tries to decode the clues in the notes, the events in her life reveal clues of their own. The two weave together until they form a startling intersection that will change her future.

Beautifully written. Miranda is a character you won't soon forget.
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on July 29, 2017
My folks didn't know what kind of books to buy me when I was a kid because they hadn't been readers. So they started buying me Newberry winners and they were all great, which is why this book shouldn't be a surprise- but it is.

Heartfelt, complex, smart and fantastical- it's a mystery in many parts, including the bizarre language of middle-school age friendship and time travel. Highly recommended (for adults, not just kids).
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on August 23, 2015
I liked the book a lot it was well written. Although it got confusing at times and reading it for a second time I understand it a lot more but I think that's kind of the point. The author wants you to be confused along with the main character until the end when everything makes sense and is revealed. Very good book overall
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