This week Marshmallow reviews When You Reach Me, a 2009 novel by Rebecca Stead, which won the Newberry Medal in 2010.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like mystery or science fiction, or if you enjoyed reading other books written by Rebecca Stead, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Twelve-year old Miranda, a sixth grader in New York City in the late 1970s, has just started to receive notes that tell her that someone is coming to save her friend’s life and their own. Here is 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.
The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.”
After this first note, Miranda starts to receive more notes. These notes say that she must not share them with anybody and that she must believe the notes. Then the person starts to send proof of what they’re saying is true. For example, the note says “Tesser well” and then her mother’s boyfriend gives her a copy of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle signed by Madeleine L’Engle that says “Tesser well”.
In the middle of this, Miranda is also having school trouble. Her mom is preparing to go on a game show with the hopes of winning a large sum of money. Miranda is also having some problems with her best friend Sal.
There is in short a lot going on in Miranda’s life, and though some of it is normal kid stuff, the secret notes make things all quite mysterious. (And if you want to know more, you have to read the book!)
Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book. It has a very interesting but also a very complex plot, and the reader may have a hard time finding who wrote the notes.
I think that this is also a very good book because the author, Rebecca Stead, is great at creating characters. My favorite character is probably Julie or Miranda. Miranda is really realistic, and she does things that make her unique, like tying and untying knots.
This book might be a little hard to understand for kits (baby bunnies) because of its complex plot, and it is also not a particularly easy book to read. I think therefore that it would probably be best for bunnies aged eight and up.
I think the best part of this book is that the author is an expert at making the reader want to finish the book soon. The mystery is great because the reader wouldn’t be able to guess who the writer of the notes is because they are concealed by the author wonderfully. I think that this is a great book that is an excellent mix of mystery and science fiction and many other genres.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.