Monday, March 29, 2010

When You Reach Me

Rebecca Stead
Wendy Lamb Books 2009


When You Reach Me is a book of stunning revelations. Of discovery.

Time travel. The book begins in 1978, and so as I first settle in to the story I feel like I'm time-traveling already. But soon I forget I'm in the past, because Miranda and her friends act like sixth graders act now, like they've always acted since the sixth grade was invented.

Stead's characters are so human, so immediate, so rich and surprising and fascinating. They pull me through the exposition until the mystery begins.

And then I can't put it down. My daughter needs a ride to the craft store to buy shells for her history project - traditional ceremonial mask from Bambara - and I say, "Okay, okay, but only if you'll read to me on the way."

Book, bag, pocket, shoe---in each place Miranda finds a clue, a hint that there's a deep tragedy looming, something that will kill one of her friends and destroy another. Miranda can stop it, but only if she believes that she can affect something after it's already happened.

This is one of the finest science fiction books I've ever read. Through the course of the story, Miranda makes deeply powerful discoveries about herself, about her friends and family, and about life. I loved the setting, learned things about growing up in New York City that I never would have guessed. Stead's insight into the nature of time made me want to joyfully embrace the universe. This is a great book, every bit deserving of the Newbery Award. And it's science fiction!

Bravo! Author! Encore! Recommended for ages ten and up.


  1. Oh, I've been meaning to read this one. Very good to know it's worth the wait.

  2. It is definitely worth the wait! And read "First Light" too.