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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
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...
Published on 27 Jan 2010 by TeensReadToo

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not brilliant.
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...
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by Els De Clercq


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 27 Jan 2010
By 
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved it, 8 April 2010
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of When You Reach Me, 10 Mar 2010
By 
Aaron Mead - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. I will not be myself when I reach you" (p. 60).

Miranda continues to receive notes like this--four in all--each as eerie and enigmatic as the first. The notes set her a mystery to unravel: Who is sending the notes? What kind of trip is the sender planning to take? Which of Miranda's friends will be saved? And from what? And what's with that crazy homeless guy on the corner that sleeps with his head under the mailbox? These questions, along with the rift between Miranda and Sal, drive the story forward.

Many things make this book appealing. The first, of course, is the mystery: the reader is as intent on solving it as Miranda is. Stead gives the mystery depth beyond the mere content of the notes by lacing the book with the science fiction theme of time travel. The most obvious way this theme shows up is in conversations Miranda has with certain friends--in particular Marcus, a math and physics prodigy who thinks time travel is theoretically possible. However, time travel is also woven into the book via Miranda's attachment to L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, a book in which the protagonist, Meg, travels through time to save her family members. (Incidentally, Stead says in the acknowledgements that L'Engle's books captivated her as a child.)

Despite the compelling mystery, though, When You Reach Me is most deeply about friendship. Specifically, the novel addresses the question of how to hold on to old friendships without stifling them, and it insightfully brings out the stabilizing effect that new friendships can have in the effort to preserve or reclaim old ones. Though I refrain from specifics here in order not to spoil the plot, the novel's narrative reflections on friendship are extremely thoughtful and resonant. This theme of friendship will speak deeply to tweens navigating the frequently tumultuous social world of middle school.

The book is also just very clever. For example, as I already noted, Miranda's mother wants to win on The $20,000 Pyramid. The final part of the game show is called the "Winner's Circle", in which a set of objects is described to the contestant and she is required to say what category the objects belong to. For example, if the objects were "a tube of toothpaste, someone's hand" the contestant would say "things you squeeze" (p. 39). Stead cleverly titles most of the chapters in the book with categories like that, such as "Things You Keep in a Box," "Things That Go Missing," and "Things You Hide." And sure enough, Stead puts objects in each chapter that fit into these titular categories. After a while, it became a fun extra game to find what the "things that smell" or "things that kick" were in the chapter I was reading!

In addition to these factors that give When You Reach Me subjective appeal, the book is developmentally valuable for young readers. In particular, the book communicates hopeful positive messages about some of life's most important themes. Indeed, it seems to be part of Stead's explicit purpose to lift, for a moment, the "veil" that generally hides from us "the world as it really is," in all its "beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love" (p. 71). In other words, part of Stead's aim is to inspire truthful but hopeful reflection on some of the things that matter most in life.

Stead's elevation of the value of friendship is perhaps the most important and striking example of what makes this book good for tweens. Her focus on the deep importance of friendship is a welcome counter-weight to the catty, superficial social culture typical of middle school.

The possibility of redemption is another developmentally valuable theme that Stead explores in the novel. For example, the book builds toward second chances for Miranda's mother--both vocationally, and relationally. Similarly, Miranda has a redemptive conversion in the way she views and treats her classmates Julia and Alice Evans. Whereas before she viewed Julia simply as a competitor for Annemarie's affection, and Alice as the weird kid who waited too long to go to the bathroom, toward the end of the book Miranda's veil is suddenly removed, revealing Julia as Annemarie's faithful friend, and Alice as an insecure outsider. This insight gives Miranda new compassion and kindness toward both of them.

In sum, When You Reach Me is a fantastic book for children aged nine years and up. Not only does it engage interesting themes bundled into a compelling mystery, but it elevates friendship and redemption, and thereby encourages the right sort of values in tweens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not brilliant., 15 Aug 2011
By 
Els De Clercq "EDC" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: When You Reach Me (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book !, 27 Feb 2011
By 
ros (Sedona usa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: When You Reach Me (Paperback)
This book has instantly become one of my five favorite books of all time. A book with great depth. I had borrowed it from the library but now I know I will want to read it again and again I will by buying my own copy. This one is a keeper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When you Reach Me, 26 Feb 2011
This review is from: When You Reach Me (Paperback)
When you reach me is one of the best books I have ever read. It has a rather complicated plot with a lot of stories intwined into one. It is moving, enjoyable and unputdownable! I recommend this book to any strong reader aged 10-14
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5.0 out of 5 stars When you reach me, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: When You Reach Me (Kindle Edition)
Amazing book, rather confusing to begin with but I really got into it. 5 stars, absolutely incredible, you have to read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Of All Time, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: When You Reach Me (Kindle Edition)
When You Reach Me is a book that has everything. It has the perfect balance of everyday life and mystery. It includes things that everyone has to go through such as making and losing friends but then surprises you with outbursts of action and puzzles. I love this book and would recommend it to anyone because no matter what age I believe that anyone can relate to the beautifully constructed characters and plot lines.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Time travel tremendous, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: When You Reach Me (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book because it was about the world of time travel. I have just seen Mr Peabody and Sherman which is a very good film and if you have read this book and is looking at this review I consider you to watch it. I chose five stars because this book is truly wonderful it is about a girl called Miranda who receives a note and follows that not to her destiny or is her destiny her fate? Read this book to find out
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: When You Reach Me (Kindle Edition)
Have just read this on my son's recommendations is also an Author writing for this same age group.Rebecca Stead's book Is beauitifully written and a clever concept about time ,l especially like the way the children's characters are shown,a sweet and gentle book
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When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Paperback - 6 Jan 2011)
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