When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
Genre: Children’s; Mystery; Science Fiction
Newbery Medal, 2010
Summary: Miranda’s life is wonderfully ordinary until she finds a mysterious note that reads: I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. Miranda finds even more letters, and soon realizes that they relate to her and her life, as they reveal things that have not happened yet. Who is behind the notes, and how does he/she know about events that have not yet occurred?
Review: Since When You Reach Me is a Newbery winner, I had rather high expectations going in. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly care for this book.
To me, the story seemed rather disjointed at times, and it didn’t really have the continuity that I enjoy. This may have been a nod to A Wrinkle in Time, but it just didn’t work all that well here. I also thought the story was rather predictable. While it is important to leave clues for the reader, especially when dealing with middle grade fiction, I thought that many of the plot twists were so obvious anybody could see it from a mile away, thereby removing the element of surprise that one waits for when reading a mystery.
The characters weren’t particularly compelling either. All of them seemed rather one-dimensional, and I wish the author had fleshed them out a bit more.
While I didn’t care for When You Reach Me all that much, it is an award-winning book and many people love it. If you enjoy middle grade fiction with an element of mystery, especially A Wrinkle in Time, you may also enjoy this book.
Read-alike: A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle