Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic , 2009   ISBN: 0385737424

Miranda’s problems seem to begin after one of the neighborhood boys punches her best friend Sal in the stomach. Sal retreats from Miranda’s company, and suddenly she finds that she is all alone. She has to walk past the “crazy guy” on the corner by herself, and she has no one to spend her time with. Quite by chance, soon after she loses Sal, Annemarie’s friendship with Julia goes south, so Miranda and Annemarie start spending time together. Then Colin joins their little duo, and the three children begin to spend their school lunch break working at a local sandwich shop.

After her first day of “work” Miranda comes home to discover that her apartment door is not locked. Nothing has been stolen, but Miranda finds out that something was left behind – a note. The writer of the note tells Miranda that he or she is “coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.” He or she also asks Miranda to write a letter and to “mention the location of your house key.” The writer talks about a trip and how he or she “will not be myself when I reach you.” What on earth is going on?

This is only the first of several letters that Miranda finds. They all appear under the most mysterious of circumstances, and what they say makes no sense at all. What does become apparent is that the writer seems to know what is going to happen before it happens. How is this even possible?

In this extraordinary book, Rebecca Stead takes her readers on an incredible journey into the fantastic. She explores time travel and friendships, and she gives her readers a mystery that is tantalizing, intriguing, thought-provoking, and even magical. Without a superfluity of words, Rebecca Stead’s novel is a powerful tour de force that will leave readers spellbound and perhaps slightly dazed.

The title won the 2009 Newbery Award.