When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

This is a pretty spectacular book, not leastly because it references A Wrinkle in Time, one of my favorite books and also a favorite of the main character, Miranda.

There’s no real way to summarize this book, because it’s largely confusing, but let’s look at a couple paragraphs from the opening pages:

“I check the box under my bed, which is where I’ve kept your notes these past few months. There it is, in your tiny handwriting: April 27th: Studio TV-15, the words all jerky-looking, like you wrote them on the subway. Your last ‘proof.’

“I still think about the letter you asked me to write. It nags at me, even though you’re gone and there’s no one to give it to anymore. Sometimes I work on it in my head, trying to map out the story you asked me to tell, about everything that happened this past fall and winter. It’s all still there, like a movie I can watch when I want to. Which is never.”

Dude. Love it.

So over the next couple hundred pages, Miranda basically lays out the story that this mysterious note-writer is asking her about, which involves normal everyday 12-year-old things like going to school, falling out with a friend, making new friends, avoiding the homeless guy on the corner, getting a parent ready to compete on The $20,000 Pyramid… okay, maybe not entirely normal, but not abnormal, either. And of course it gets even less normal when Miranda starts getting notes from someone who seems to know a lot more about Miranda’s life than she’s entirely comfortable with.

But the notes and the whole Wrinkle-y sci-fi aspect are practically unimportant for most of the story, which is what I think sells this book to me more than anything. I love a good tesser as much as the next person (or probably more), but I love the time that Stead spends developing Miranda and making me really root for her even when she’s doing some stupid stuff. And she weaves the weird notes and such in extremely well, so that when you find out what’s going on (well, to the extent that you do), you’re like, “Ohhhhhhh, nice!” rather than, “Well, DUH.” Which is probably harder to do than I think it is.

Basically, you should just go read this book. Now. Go.

Recommendation: The last sentence, unless you are really against things that make your head hurt a little bit. Just a little. It’s more like a tingle. And often like a tickle.

Rating: 9.5/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Stainless Steel Droppings
At Home With Books
Maw Books Blog
Library Queue

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

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4 thoughts on “When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

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