January 12, 2011

When You Reach Me :: Rebecca Stead

Title: When You Reach Me [book club selection, RC]
Author: Rebecca Stead
Read: NYC
Format: trade paperback

I don't know how to start praising Rebecca Stead's 2009 Newberry Award winner, When You Reach Me. It's a children's book with amazing heart and no subtext or moral. It's just a wonderful story made up of all the things I love:

- NYC setting
- smart, charming, non-precocious narrator
- it's just a little fantastical
- well-flushed out, believable characters
- a richly developed setting that you can almost see as you read

Miranda lives happily with her mom on Manhattan's Upper West Side when one day her life starts getting weird. First, her lifelong best friend Sal gets punched for no reason on the way home from school. He immediately decides he doesn't want to be friends with her anymore. Soon after, she starts getting mysterious notes that she doesn't know what to make of. The novel follows 11-then-12-year-old Miranda as she tries to get to the bottom of it all.

When You Reach Me is short enough to read in one sitting and I recommend doing so. You won't want to put it down, so if you have to you'll be annoyed (I was). It's the kind of book that makes children love reading and reminds adults how great storytelling can be.

Just read it. It's really good.
5 out of 5 stars

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