Monday, August 1, 2011

When You Reach Me

Stead, R. (2009). When you reach me. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.
This book has been on the New York Times Bestseller for Children List.

When You Reach Me was a very engaging read that kept me interested until the very end.  With two story lines, one with Miranda's mom practicing to be on The $20,000 Pyramid show and the other with Miranda's friendships with various people (Sal, Marcus, Annemarie) in the story and how that plays a part of "the story" she is suppose to write.  The reader is left wondering what is going on and the only way to find out is to keep reading!  Miranda's favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time and this is about the only book she reads.  She begins a conversation with another student about time travel, which gets her mind going as well as the reader's mind. The reader knows this is important, but the author weaves such a tight story, that you aren't sure exactly how everything will play out.  There are also secondary characters that play important parts in the story, and again, it takes a little while for the reader to figure out exactly what role they play.  You know the laughing man (the crazy man on the street) is an important character, but you aren't quite sure what role he will play.  As you continue to read, you feel the loss that Miranda feels from the unraveling of her friendship with Sal.  You also cheer a little when Colin gets up the nerve to give her a kiss and she kisses him back.  Stead does an excellent job of capturing the reader and putting you right in the middle of the story.  You can even understand Miranda's confusion about time traveling as Marcus attempts to explain it all to her.  And then you are intrigued by the notes she gets throughout the story, trying to figure out who is writing them.  With the secondary story of Annemarie's epilepsy, it makes the reader wonder which friend's life will be saved.  All of these questions are answered at the end, leaving the reader with a feeling of satisfaction.

This is a great book that I can't wait to recommend to readers.  I was disappointed when my daughter told me she tried to read it and didn't really care for it.  I thought the story kept the reader interested, and other than the confusion of trying to understand time travel (whether you see yourself going if you get back 5 minutes before you left) it was a book that you didn't want to put down!

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