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Book Review of When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me
skywriter319 avatar reviewed on + 784 more book reviews

Every once in a while there comes along a book that is so unique, so awe-inspiring, that you have to immediately rave about it to everyone around who reads books. WHEN YOU REACH ME is such a book. Rebecca Stead's second novel is a middle-grade treasure that people will hopefully stumble upon and love all their lives.

My favorite part about this book was, of course, the sci-fi time-travel aspect, which was seamlessly woven into a coming-of-age story set in post-Vietnam War New York City. WHEN YOU REACH ME references Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time heavily, which means that it will appeal to about 95% of readers, though Stead's appeal is less fantasy and more about how seemingly impossible concepts can fit smoothly into our conceptions of our world. It's not often that you get to read a science-y book that blows away all your expectations and predictions.

Besides for the sci-fi aspect, WHEN YOU REACH ME is also a charming coming-of-age novel with memorable characters. Miranda deals wonderfully with her family and classmates: she's at that stage where she struggles to figure out who she thought she was in new situations. Perhaps the characters could've been developed slightly more, but readers come out of the experience very much impressed, and will have difficulty finding anything lacking.

In short, WHEN YOU REACH ME is 2009's not-to-be-missed middle-grade novel. Its lovely blend of reality and sci-fi makes it truly stand out, and Stead's impeccable writing draws us right into Miranda's world. Be sure to get your hands on a copy of this book in any way possible!