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When You Reach Me cover art

When You Reach Me

Written by: Rebecca Stead
Narrated by: Cynthia Holloway
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Publisher's Summary

Four mysterious letters change Miranda's world forever.....

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death - until the final note makes her think she's too late.

©2009 Rebecca Stead (P)2009 Random House

What the critics say

"[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow... cool.'" (Kirkus Reviews)  

"[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest." (Booklist)

What listeners say about When You Reach Me

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Such a Good Novel

"It's simple to love someone. It's hard to know when to say it out loud."

I listened to this one as an audiobook so I got a bit of a different experience with this one. I loved that I was able to hear the change in emotions and how the characters grew throughout the book. This was basically an ode to A WRINKLE IN TIME and I loved that book so this one was great to me.

I did think that Miranda sounded a little older than 12 at some times but I think she was still a great character and narrator. It's written in a way that makes it easy to read but there are a lot of complex things in the pages that you don't realize it is only 200 pages long.

I would have liked it to be a little longer or maybe some more details of the friendships and about Miranda's conversations with her friends. I think there could have been more flushed out aspects of the way that Miranda changed. She talks about how she saw herself being mean and wanted to adjust that but then there were only little hints to it rather than how tough it can be to actually do that, especially as a kid.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who wants a bit of sci-fi with their middle grade novels. I liked to see the world through Miranda's eyes and wish I could have spent a little more time in her world.

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