Book Review: When You Reach Me

whenyoureachmecover“Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever. 

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. 

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: 

I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. 
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. 

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. 

Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal.” (from Goodreads)

Soak that title in. Have you ever heard anything so unique and beautiful? The inside of the book is even more so. I knew it right away from the very originally named chapter titles and the use of second person perspective. (Hats off to the author–no one ever does that!) I knew even more with the odd clues and the references to A Wrinkle in Time.

This book left me stunned and thoughtful for a week afterward.

There were sweet moments to the story–working at a restaurant with friends, baking a ridiculously awful but fun cake, and Miranda’s interactions with her mom. (It was also heartwarming to see how she and Richard were totally in cahoots.) I loved how, through the events that happened, Miranda learned to love those around her in small but tangible ways (prime example: Alice). It was especially neat to see how her opinion of certain characters changed as she looked at them in a more nuanced way (prime example: also Alice).

This book was next-level sci-fi–seriously poignant and utterly fascinating. I liked the emphasis and value it placed on both friendship and self-sacrifice, and I was pretty moved by the end of it. *sobs*

Just a note, there were four blasphemies and h*** was used twice out of context. Also, there were some minor things such as the main character’s single mom having a boyfriend, some not-described teenage kissing, and a mention of “lifting the veil” in your mind for concentration. Two big things that stood out to me as possible problems, especially for young readers, were racism (portrayed as wrong) and a [heartbreaking death (hide spoiler)] though it was handled tastefully. Also, if you haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time this book includes spoilers for it. 😉

Best quote: 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.

Altogether, this book was a one-of-a-kind, amazing read. ❤ I need my own copy. 😉

Also, Marcus is my favorite weirdo.

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