Review: When You Reach Me

When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the joys of my daughters growing older is that we’re able to pass new favorite books back and forth to each other. On our recent vacation, I read When You Reach Me
on the bottom of a bunk bed while my daughter Sophie waited for me to hit her favorite parts and my other daughter Lucy waited for her turn to crack open the cover. As a result, I’ve been reading more YA fiction lately, and this one is definitely a delight.

Miranda, the narrator, is a “new classic” heroine for kids; bookish, feisty, thoughtful, funny, navigating the treacherous waters of middle school friendship and fascinated with time travel at the same time. Her favorite book, one she carries with her everywhere, is A Wrinkle in Time, and it’s an apt connection for those of us who identified with Meg Murry. There are several well-rounded boy characters too, in her classmates Sal, Colin and Marcus, and Miranda’s mother and her boyfriend are also vivid and authentic, making this a great book for adults and young adults alike. The plot is tight and fast-paced, switching deftly between the time travel mystery and Miranda’s struggle to understand why some friends stop talking to her and others come from unexpected places. Another layer of interest for adults is that the story takes place in 1978 New York City, and I promise you’ll be kept guessing as much as your kids will be.

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