When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me, a young adult novel that was a winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal, was written by Rebecca Stead. Set in New York City in the late 1970s, it’s an engrossing story about a young girl, her relationships with her friends, her single mother and her mother’s boyfriend, and a mystery.
Miranda is in the sixth grade when she begins to receive a series of notes that indicate knowledge about Miranda’s life that is seemingly impossible for anyone to have. Miranda’s attempts to understand why she is receiving these notes and what they mean are beautifully illustrated through Miranda’s interior monologues about growing up on the upper west side of Manhattan in 1979 and the trials and joys of sixth grade.
The story raises philosophical questions about the nature of time, the nature of friendship, courage and trust, and the meaning of life and death. It would be a marvelous book to read along with a middle-school-aged child (I read it along with my twelve-year-old son) or to read to a class of upper elementary school students. I couldn’t put it down!