When You Reach Me (by Rebecca Stead)

5 08 2011

When you reach me is a hard one to judge for the cat. It’s definitely a thoughtful children’s book (target audience is really younger children, rather than YA), but since the cat has never read A Wrinkle in Time (yes, yes, I know, the cat hangs her head in shame – but then again it’s probably a cultural thing. The cat grew up with books that were not in English!), she feels that much of the story’s appeal didn’t quite reach the cat.

When you reach me follows Miranda, a New York 6th grader, as she tries to figure the truth about a mysterious note she receives. At the same time Miranda talks about her friendships: old ones (Sal)  and new ones (Annemarie and Colin). Another recurring theme is Miranda’s mom’s upcoming stint on the $20,000 Pyramid, a show hosted by the never-aging Dick Clark, and the existence of a weird homeless ‘laughing man’ in her street.

In a story where everything is connected to everything, and with a bunch of references to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, this is a book for a smart 12-year-old who doesn’t mind not going outside to play, but would rather sit down with a book (that is definitely low on the action & adventure front) for a few hours to figure out the mystery together with Miranda.

The book is well-written, the characters are developed nicely enough, the whole story neatly unfolds… but will it stick? The cat does expect a little bit more of a Newbery winner…

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