Sunday, June 5, 2011

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

This book is a Newbery Award recipient, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. It may be hard for me to summarize the plot but here goes. Miranda lives with her single mother, and she is helping her mother prepare for a TV game show, The $20,000 Pyramid. This event isn't a major topic of the plot, but it continues throughout the whole plot. Miranda receives notes from a mystery person that foretell the future and ask her to write him a letter to save the life of one of her friends and the mysterious writer. Confusing? Miranda's best friend, Sal, stops talking to her, and she doesn't know why. She becomes friends with another boy and girl in her class, and they hang out together and get jobs at a small store. The mystery of the book centers around Marcus, a strange, silent loner, and the laughing man. Sal stopped talking to Miranda on the day that Marcus punched him for no reason and then walked away. The laughing man is a homeless person who sleeps with his head under the corner mailbox and talks to himself. Miranda tries to cope with her changing life and friends, while she tries to figure out the mystery behind the secret messages she's receiving.

This book could also fit on my fantasy blog. I put it with the realistic fiction, because the fantasy part of the book isn't uncovered until the end (although most readers will probably figure it out sooner). I enjoyed reading about Miranda's kind heart and the ways she tried to help others. Although this book isn't a mystery, I liked trying to figure out the meanings behind the notes Miranda received. I didn't give the book a rating of five, because the plot might be fuzzy to young readers due to the secret note writer. Some readers love this type of thing and others don't. I didn't have a big problem with this from a personal and literature standpoint. I could easily have given this book a rating of five if I wasn't considering my young readers too.

Lexile level from 750

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