When You Reach Me

When You Reach Meby Rebecca Stead

The Newbery Medal is the gold standard for children’s books. This book, the 2010 medal winner, has an elegant plot, a vivid setting, and a fascinating premise.

Twelve-year-old Miranda, growing up in New York City with her single mother, worries when her best friend, a boy named Sal, begins to pull away from her. The crazy homeless man on the corner also bothers her. But her fears are heightened when she starts receiving mysterious notes that seem to foretell future events.  When these predictions start proving eerily accurate, the tension ratchets up.

Miranda’s voice is clear and engaging, as she negotiates the shoals of sixth-grade friendships, befriends a bully, and deals with a working mom obsessed with winning a TV game show. Her favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time, sparks unexpected discussions about time travel.

Each clue from the mysterious note-writer drew me deeper into the story until I couldn’t put the book down. Stead skillfully drops clues and hooks the reader right up until the surprising – and satisfying – ending.

Amazing! Rebecca Stead has not been writing books for long, but she is a master.

Rebecca Stead's delightfully whimsical website is www.rebeccasteadbooks.com.