Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

When you reach me, by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a book that my dad read aloud to me when I was 10 or so, and after finishing “When you reach me,” I really want to re-read The Time Quartet, because I remember it only vaguely.

This was a very engaging read that I finished in one sitting. I enjoyed the late-70s setting–it made the story stand out from a lot of middle grade/YA fiction that I’ve read recently. The voice of the protagonist was true to her age (from my perspective as a thirtysomething looking back) and I could easily relate to her.

While the book didn’t unfold quite as I expected it to, I liked the slow process of discovering who was sending notes to Miranda, seemingly from the future, and why.

I would recommend this book to middle-grade readers and up to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or books about time travel with a more realistic setting.

If you enjoy books about time travel as much as I do, which are your favorites, for children or adults?