Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
ISBN: 9780385906647
Pages: 199 Pages
Publisher/Date: Wendy Lamb Books, c2009.

I have no idea what you expect from me.
If you just wanted to know what happened that day this past winter, it would be easy. Not fun, but easy. But that’s not what your note says. It says to write down the story of what happened and everything that led up to it. And, as Mom likes to say, that’s a whole different bucket of poop. Except she doesn’t use the word “poop”.
Because even if you were still here, even if I did decide to write the letter, I wouldn’t know where to start. The day the laughing man showed up on our corner? The day Mom and Louisa met in the lobby? The day I found your first note?
There is no answer. But if someone sat on my legs and forced me to name the day the whole true story began, I’d say it was the day Sal got punched. (20)

Twelve year old Miranda knows something strange is going on. Her classmate/friend Sal who lives in her apartment complex, is avoiding her. She’s helping her mother practice to go on the television game show The $20,000 Pyramid. A man had mysteriously appeared outside her apartment complex, mumbling about bookbags and pocketshoes. And her apartment key has gone missing, but at first glance nothing has been stolen from the apartment. But as she tries to make some new friends, Miranda realizes that all these events might be interconnected with her love of the book A Wrinkle in Time.

I really liked this book. It’s no wonder in my mind that it won the Newbery Award for 2010. I’ve been meaning to read this book since it was published, because it’s been talked about so much, but the hype is warranted in this case. Part mystery, part fantasy, part historical fiction (set in 1979), the story doesn’t really fit neatly into any of those genres, with illusions to time travel and questions that arise from that concept. The appeal is the tween relationships, which are masterfully crafted with girls and guys trying to navigate the new rules of friendships now that they’re in sixth grade. There are the beginnings of two sweet little romances. It’s a gentle story, and while some kids might be thrown by the mind-bending aspect of time travel, it’s astonishing how well the book reads and how well the ending wraps up all the loose ends. Highly recommended.

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