Available Copies: Downtown Youth, Pittsfield Youth, Traverwood Youth, West Youth
As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.
This is a book I could read again and again and it's a wonderful read-a-loud for parents and kids. My 12 yr old son was reluctant to start it so we read the first two chapters as a read-a-loud and he was hooked. He finished it on his own in 3 days. My 10 yr old daughter read it on her own but I think the plot intricacies lost her and she didn't enjoy it as much. It would have been better to read together. I loved the "Wrinkle In Time" connection, the $20,000 Pyramid references, and the NYC 1970's setting. The idea that everyone walks around with a veil over their eyes and occasionally we have moments where the veil is lifted and we clearly see the "magic thread" connecting all the pieces in our lives is a truly beautiful one.
submitted by klickitat on August 6, 2012, 10:22 am
Undoubtedly a large part of why When You Reach Me is such a critical darling is the sheer spectacle of what Stead achieved. WYRM's plot is so intricate it would make a Rolex blush, and yet it's never tedious or confusing and, in the end, all is clear. (So I guess it is possible, eh LOST?) As long as the reader is willing to pay attention and play along, they are assured of reaching a satisfying conclusion.
Stead is a master of dropping important details casually into the narrative without belaboring her point. Events' chronology and the passage of time are crucial to WYRM's plot. But, instead of talking down to her audience by reminding us that this is two months before blahdittyblah happened, Stead uses her characters' actions and behaviors to orient the reader in time. For example, in a particular scene we're told a girl is wearing an unseasonably warm coat for November, which at first seems irrelevant, until, click, we realize we've been handed another piece of the puzzle. Time and time again I marveled at how deft Stead was at imparting critical information without the annoying sense that trumpets are sounding and spotlights are shining because what you just read was important. Instead readers will absorb the important details without even realizing they're doing so. WYRM is a great introduction to skilled writing for young readers (and a refresher for us older folks.)
I want to mention just how much I love the characters in this book. Even though I figured out the "twist" well before the end, the characters and pure joy of the story never allowed my interest to wane. It's not often I want to hug most every character in a novel. I did here. I blame the lovely little character details for my sudden "Kumbaya" impulses. It was wonderful to discover a rich character piece in the midst of what could have been purely a science-fiction story. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised since WYRM is a loving tribute to A Wrinkle in Time, a book that features one of my all time favorite character quirks: a father who writes equations on the dining room tablecloth.
However, within the strong cast, Marcus was the one false note for me. I never felt I understood him beyond the boy-genius persona. Maybe if/when I re-read I'll change my mind but he's the only character I wouldn't quite recognize if he passed me on the street (prophetic metaphor intentional?) Considering his importance I was disappointed that he never quite came alive in the same way as the other characters. I can't help but wonder if knowing him better might have made the ending even more satisfying.
This was an excellent choice for the Newbery. Three cheers!
This book is an amazingly constructed work that carefully crafts what appears to be a simple story about a group of students in late 1970's New York City. Each detail and moment is essential as the tale is woven to its conclusion. That Newbery Committee sure knew what they were doing when they awarded this book the 2010 Newbery Medal! :-)
This Newbery award-winning youth book was a knockout that completely won me over. It’s only at the end that you realize you’ve been reading a puzzle and have been gradually picking up the pieces the whole time. You'll want to read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle afterwards. Give into that impulse - it just makes them both better.
This is a beautiful book best suited for slightly older readers. The plot is wonderful and encourages good values of trust, love, friendship and forgiveness. The science is a little complicated but will hold onto older children's attention.
When You Reach Me is a breath taking book with good plot and a magical ending. Miranda is a adventurous girl who takes chances and tries to uncover who is sending her the notes. Rebecca Stead did a wonderful job telling the story and explaining the characters. I give this book 5 stars. Everyone should read this book it is just so beautiful I would read it again and again!