When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach MeIt’s 1979 and in New York City, sixth-grader Miranda and her best friend Sal have parted ways, though they aren’t sure why except that it all seemed to start when that new boy Marcus punched Sal in the stomach. Miranda is saddened at this loss of a friendship, but she has other things on her mind, too. For instance, she is helping her mom prepare for an upcoming stint on the tv game show $20,000 Pyramid, she is reading and re-reading her favorite book A Wrinkle in Time to figure out time travel, and she is receiving strange notes addressed to her that seem to predict the future.

If it seems like the premise for a book heavy on the sci fi, well, it’s not. It is, in fact, a realistic and heart-warming story about growing up, learning who your friends are, realizing that meanness comes in lots of forms and that small acts of kindness can mean a great deal. As she tries to make sense of the notes she is receiving—the first one saying “I am coming to save your friend’s life and my own”–Miranda becomes a keen observer of the things around her, like the dynamics of middle school, the class distinctions in the world, and even the homeless man she encounters daily. The science fiction element is woven into the story so smoothly that people who don’t like scifi (like me!) will not be put off at all. It’s a great read and no surprise that When You Reach Me just won the Newberry Award.

Posted by: Cindy

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