Thursday, July 8, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

By sixth grade Miranda and Sal know how to navigate their way around their New York City neighborhood. They know who to avoid, like the crazy guy and the corner who is always sticking his legs into traffic, like he’s doing the cancan, and the tough looking boys who hang out in the apartment garage.

Miranda doesn’t notice when Sal shows signs of not wanting to hang out with her. Like the time way back in September when Sal doesn’t show up to walk home from school or when Miranda waits in the lobby until she’s absolutely going to be late for school before realizing that Sal has left without her.

Miranda and Sal, Sal and Miranda, that is how it’s always been. Until Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason. Sal then shuts Miranda completely out of his life.

After that, weird things start happening, like the emergency apartment key is stolen and Miranda starts getting letters she finds sticking out of her library books and nestled in her coat pockets. The first note:


This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help.

But I have been practicing, and my preparations go well. I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.

I ask two favors.

First, you must write me a letter.

Second, please remember to mention the location of your house key.

This trip is a difficult one.

I will not be myself when I reach you.

At first Miranda pays them no attention and shrugs them off. But the notes keep coming, and, the person who sends the messages seems to know things that no one else should know. It’s like Miranda is writing the letters to herself. Each message brings her closer to thinking that only she can prevent a tragic death, but whose? And will she be too late?

When You Reach Me is like no other book I’ve ever read. It explores the funny and laid back life of a twelve year old New Yorker, and at the same time is very gripping. I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished.

4 Stars

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