Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I picked this one up because of all the buzz it has been getting on blogs as well as the fact that our library system has picked it as part of our library's Mock Newbery. I generally don’t read as many books for the Elementary grade set so I wasn’t sure how I would like it. Turns out I really liked it, couldn’t put it down.

I won't go into the plot too much since everyone has been buzzing about this, but it is a story set in late 70s NYC about 12 year old Miranda, her friends, mysterious notes, and the $20,000 Pyramid.

Besides that, though, the writing is fantastic. Miranda has a strong voice, a compelling, funny, and totally believable voice - despite the fact that we’re dealing with some out-there occurrences. Like notes that show up in strange places…like other things I won’t mention in case you haven’t read the book. This is very much a mystery and the mystery is central to the story, but there are a lot of other things going on too. An important focus of the book deals with friendship and how it changes. The author does manage to tie this back into the mystery, which was pretty incredible and made for much holding-of-breath. All the characters were so full of life. Miranda’s mom, Richard, Jimmy, Annemarie, and others. I enjoyed hearing about their lives so much. It was a quirky story. Funny, but also heartfelt.

I must admit though, that I left the book on a down note. I forgive it because it rang so true, but Dang! Talk about injecting some realism into a story.... It is excellently written, has a complicated plot, but still manages to be very accessible.


robin_titan said...

Gosh I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard of it a few months ago. By the sound of your review I'll love it :)

Patti said...

I was sort of worried I wouldn't like it just because it had been getting so much hype. But it stood up to the pressure...for me anyway. Hope you enjoy it!

joanna said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this book because I wasn't sure what to write about it. What can you say that doesn't spoil the mystery? Not much. It's certainly one of my favorites, but also one where I'm worried that adults may like it more than the target age. Other than that, it made me super super hungry for cheese sandwiches. Mmm. Sandwiches.

Patti said...

I also lived on cheese sandwiches after school. Chedder cheese and yellow mustard. Mmmmm!

Jenn H. said...

Finally read this. I adored it! So far, this is probably my favorite for the Mock Newbery.