When You Reach Me

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Modern Age

When You Reach Me
Author: Stead, Rebecca
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1979
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: American Life, Time Travel
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Reading Age: Middle Grade, Upper Middle Grade
Format: Novel
Published: 2009

American History > Modern Age > 1970s

This Newbery Medal winner that has been called "smart and mesmerizing," (The New York Times) and "superb" (The Wall Street Journal) will appeal to readers of all types, especially those who are looking for a thought-provoking mystery with a mind-blowing twist.

Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth-grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.

It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

Winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction
A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book
Five Starred Reviews
A Junior Library Guild Selection

Emily's Review

This is such a quiet, introspective book. At its core, it is a story about friendship and learning how to become separate from each other while still being friends. Also, it's one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read.

Miranda is a 6th grader in 1970s NYC. She and her best friend Sal have suddenly grown apart, her mother is practicing to compete on $20,000 Pyramid, and she starts getting these strange notes from a mysterious person who seems to know about things before they happen.

The writing is lyrical and beautiful, and the story has a great sense of time and place. It felt like the late 1970s, there is some commentary about latchkey kids, kids being on their own and learning to be street smart, but also reliable adults who are there to guide and care for them.

The scifi element of the story is complex but also done in a way that I think is easy to understand, yet doesn't dumb it down for kids. It also parallels A Wrinkle in Time, another of my all-time favorite books.

I love this story so much and I think that it will someday be considered a children's classic.

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