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When You Reach Me
Cover of When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
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This Newbery Medal winner that has a fantastic puzzle at its heart has been called "smart and mesmerizing," (The New York Times), "superb" (The Wall Street Journal), and "incandescent" (The Washington...
This Newbery Medal winner that has a fantastic puzzle at its heart has been called "smart and mesmerizing," (The New York Times), "superb" (The Wall Street Journal), and "incandescent" (The Washington...
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  • This Newbery Medal winner that has a fantastic puzzle at its heart has been called "smart and mesmerizing," (The New York Times), "superb" (The Wall Street Journal), and "incandescent" (The Washington Post).

    When Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, she doesn't know what to do.

    The notes tell her that she must write a letter, a true story, and that she can't share her mission with anyone—not even her best friend, Sal.

    It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that's the case, then Miranda has an even bigger problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.

    "Lovely and almost impossibly clever." —The Philadelphia Inquirer
    Winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction
    A New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book

 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Things You Keep in a Box

    So Mom got the postcard today. It says Congratulations in big curly letters, and at the very top is the address of Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street. After three years of trying, she has actually made it. She's going to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid, which is hosted by Dick Clark.

    On the postcard there's a list of things to bring. She needs some extra clothes in case she wins and makes it to another show, where they pretend it's the next day even though they really tape five in one afternoon. Barrettes are optional, but she should definitely bring some with her. Unlike me, Mom has glossy red hair that bounces around and might obstruct America's view of her small freckled face.

    And then there's the date she's supposed to show up, scrawled in blue pen on a line at the bottom of the card: April 27, 1979. Just like you said.

    I check the box under my bed, which is where I've kept your notes these past few months. There it is, in your tiny handwriting: April 27th: Studio TV-15, the words all jerky-looking, like you wrote them on the subway. Your last "proof."

    I still think about the letter you asked me to write. It nags at me, even though you're gone and there's no one to give it to anymore. Sometimes I work on it in my head, trying to map out the story you asked me to tell, about everything that happened this past fall and winter. It's all still there, like a movie I can watch when I want to. Which is never.


    Things That Go Missing

    Mom has swiped a big paper calendar from work and Scotch-taped the month of April to the kitchen wall. She used a fat green marker, also swiped from work, to draw a pyramid on April 27, with dollar signs and exclamation points all around it.

    She went out and bought a fancy egg timer that can accurately measure a half minute. They don't have fancy egg timers in the supply closet at her office.

    April twenty-seventh is also Richard's birthday. Mom wonders if that's a good omen. Richard is Mom's boyfriend. He and I are going to help Mom practice every single night, which is why I'm sitting at my desk instead of watching after-school TV, which is a birthright of every latchkey child. "Latchkey child" is a name for a kid with keys who hangs out alone after school until a grown-up gets home to make dinner. Mom hates that expression. She says it reminds her of dungeons, and must have been invented by someone strict and awful with an unlimited child-care budget. "Probably someone German," she says, glaring at Richard, who is German but not strict or awful.

    It's possible. In Germany, Richard says, I would be one of the Schlusselkinder, which means "key children."

    "You're lucky," he tells me. "Keys are power. Some of us have to come knocking." It's true that he doesn't have a key. Well, he has a key to his apartment, but not to ours.

    Richard looks the way I picture guys on sailboats—tall, blond, and very tucked-in, even on weekends. Or maybe I picture guys on sailboats that way because Richard loves to sail. His legs are very long, and they don't really fit under our kitchen table, so he has to sit kind of sideways, with his knees pointing out toward the hall. He looks especially big next to Mom, who's short and so tiny she has to buy her belts in the kids' department and make an extra hole in her watchband so it won't fall off her arm.

    Mom calls Richard Mr. Perfect because of how he looks and how he knows everything. And every time she calls him Mr. Perfect, Richard taps his right knee. He does that because his right leg is shorter than his left one. All his...

About the Author-

  • REBECCA STEAD is the author of When You Reach Me, which was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, and Liar & Spy, which was also a New York Times bestseller, won the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction, and was on multiple state master lists and best of the year lists. Her most recent book, Goodbye Stranger, was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of First Light, which was nominated for many state awards. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her online at rebeccasteadbooks.com.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine A strong reading by Cynthia Holloway makes listeners curious about this story's nonlinear structure, rather than being put off. Holloway portrays the confusion of sixth-grader Miranda, who is befuddled by several letters that appear in her apartment, foretelling a future that, at first, makes no sense to her--or to listeners. Holloway manages both the real and fantasy elements of the story so that we believe in the young heroine's worries about friendship and her hopes for her mother's success on a game show. Equally convincing is Holloway's presentation of Miranda's feelings and actions as she untangles the book's puzzle. By the end, we, like Miranda, believe in the time-travel that serves as the story's turning point. S.W. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 22, 2009
    Twelve-year-old Miranda, a latchkey kid whose single mother is a law school dropout, narrates this complex novel, a work of science fiction grounded in the nitty-gritty of Manhattan life in the late 1970s. Miranda’s story is set in motion by the appearance of cryptic notes that suggest that someone is watching her and that they know things about her life that have not yet happened. She’s especially freaked out by one that reads: “I’m coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.” Over the course of her sixth-grade year, Miranda details three distinct plot threads: her mother’s upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid
    ; the sudden rupture of Miranda’s lifelong friendship with neighbor Sal; and the unsettling appearance of a deranged homeless person dubbed “the laughing man.” Eventually and improbably, these strands converge to form a thought-provoking whole. Stead (First Light
    ) accomplishes this by making every detail count, including Miranda’s name, her hobby of knot tying and her favorite book, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time
    . It’s easy to imagine readers studying Miranda’s story as many times as she’s read L’Engle’s, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. Ages 9–14.

  • "[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow ... cool.'"

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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