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When You Reach Me Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849392129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849392129
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A gently philosophical take on how the future can affect the present." (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday Books of the Year)

"Witty, touching and clever." (Sally Morris Daily Mail)

"Beautifully and simply told despite the fact that the story they tell is complex and thought-provoking. This is a great book." (Julia Eccleshare LoveReading4Kids)

"This is one of the most impressive children's books I've read in a long time. The writing (is) delicate yet robust, full of insight, compassion and wisdom. Stead manages to describe complex emotions in a fresh and original manner." (Sarah Webb Irish Independent)

"A satisfying read that should remain popular as long as the classic A Wrinkle In Time to which it pays homage." (Carousel)

Book Description

The Time-Traveller's Wife for children. This remarkable novel holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart. It's original, brilliant and profound.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love Madeleine L'Engle and her book A Wrinkle In Time. This book makes numerous references to both. When I met Madeleine L'Engle at a conference a few years ago she stated that her characters are alive to her, and every now and again she will realize something new happened in their life. This book has that feel; as I read it, and even after finishing, I found myself thinking about the characters - where they are now, what they are up to. I think L'Engle would have loved that about this book.

The story takes place in a very small geographic region in New York City, focusing around a 6th grade girl Miranda, her friends and family. She finds a note indicating that the author is trying to save her friend's life and their own life. The author of the note indicates that they know the future and give her dates and times of events yet to happen to prove they are telling the truth. What they are asking for in return is that Miranda tells them her story, specifically that she write it out and when the time comes she will know who to give it to.

The story is wonderfully written from Miranda's perspective, looking back on the past few months. It is about lifting the veil between what we perceive and what is real, what is actual and what is possible. It is about the potential in humans for growth and change. C.S. Lewis stated "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face." This book helps to wipe some of the dirt and grime off the glass and allows us to see a little more clearly. Yes it is true the story became predictable, especially for a fan of L'Engle, but the way it happens still makes it worth reading. It is a wonderful book - a book about hope, a book about change and a book about coming into yourself. If Stead's writings continue to ask questions like this one, does she have the potential to become a favourite author of mine, and maybe even a legend like L'Engle?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Mead on 10 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Miranda--the protagonist of the 2010 Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me--is a twelve-year-old latchkey kid living with her single mom in New York City in the 1970s. She's smart, she's funny, and she reads only one book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Her mother--a would-be lawyer with a keen sense of justice--was forced to drop out of law school when she had Miranda. Now she works unhappily as a paralegal and dreams of winning the game show The $20,000 Pyramid so she can quit her job.

Miranda has lost her best friend, Sal, who lives in her apartment building. One day, while the two of them were walking home from school, a neighborhood kid named Marcus punched Sal, and from that day on Sal just seemed to drift away: he no longer waits to walk with Miranda, and he refuses even to look at her when they bump into each other. In the confusing void left by Sal, Miranda strikes up new friendships with Annemarie--who was recently ditched by her sometimes-snotty best friend Julia--and Colin, "this short kid who seemed to end up in my class every year" (p. 54). The three of them get lunchtime jobs together at the local sandwich shop, Jimmy's, and bond over cheese sandwiches with smelly pickles.

One day Miranda finds her apartment mysteriously unlocked after school, and the spare key missing from its hiding spot, unnerving both her and her mother. Shortly thereafter Miranda receives the following mysterious note:

"This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help. But I have been practicing, and my preparations go well. I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. Second, please remember to mention the location of your house key. The trip is a difficult one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Els De Clercq on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
When you reach me is a hard one to judge for me. It's definitely a thoughtful children's book (target audience is really younger children, rather than YA), but since I have never read A Wrinkle in Time (yes, yes, I know, I hang my head in shame - but then again it's probably a cultural thing. I grew up with books that were not in English!), I feel that much of the story's appeal didn't quite reach me.

When you reach me follows Miranda, a New York 6th grader, as she tries to figure the truth about a mysterious note she receives. At the same time Miranda talks about her friendships: old ones (Sal) and new ones (Annemarie and Colin). Another recurring theme is Miranda's mom's upcoming stint on the $20,000 Pyramid, a show hosted by the never-aging Dick Clark, and the existence of a weird homeless `laughing man' in her street.
In a story where everything is connected to everything, and with a bunch of references to Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, this is a book for a smart 12-year-old who doesn't mind not going outside to play, but would rather sit down with a book (that is definitely low on the action & adventure front) for a few hours to figure out the mystery together with Miranda.

The book is well-written, the characters are developed nicely enough, the whole story neatly unfolds... but will it stick? I do expect a little bit more of a Newbery winner...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
WHEN YOU REACH ME was a one-sitting read for me.

Miranda lives in New York City with her mother. She and her best friend, Sal, spend most of their time together, navigating the ins and outs of life, school, and their neighborhood. One day when walking home from school, Sal gets punched in the stomach by an older boy who hangs out down the street from their apartment building. Sal pulls away from Miranda after that and stops hanging out with her. Miranda feels completely lost without him.

Since Miranda isn't spending much time with Sal anymore, she has plenty of time to help her mother prepare for an appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid. Miranda and Richard, her mother's boyfriend, drill her every night on different questions that could appear on the show. Sal's mother even takes notes on the game show every day to help.

Losing Sal's friendship bothers Miranda a lot. Not having him to talk to is bad enough, but she really hates walking home alone. Not only does she have to walk by the group of older boys by herself, she also has to walk past the crazy old man by the mailbox. Then, the notes start arriving - notes telling her things about the future.

Can Miranda trust the notes? Can she really save the life of someone she knows by doing what they say? You'll love following along with the mystery to find out what Miranda does, who she saves, and what the old man has to do with it.

If you like WHEN YOU REACH ME, you need to find THE POWER OF UN by Nancy Etchemendy. It is fantastic and shares some of the same story elements.

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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