When You Reach Me

Stead, R. (2009). When you reach me. New York, NY: Wendy Lamb Books

Rebecca Stead arranges an incredibly clever story entertaining the idea of how time travel can affect relationships and the importance of the decisions we make.  Stead takes us through Miranda's unique experiences with a mysterious note writer who is able to make three things happen for Miranda.  She surrounds herself with her friends: Sal, who is her friend from when they were very young, Annamarie, who suffers from epilepsy, Julia, who she can't stand, and Colin, who she develops feelings for. Mark is a kid who bullies Sal and turns out to be a important because Stead enables him to travel through time. Miranda learns that Mark has traveled back in time and has been posing as the Laughing Man, who is homeless, outside her home. He comes back to save Sal from an accident with a moving truck.  Being from the future, enabled the future Mark to make the three events happen for Miranda.  In the midst of solving the mystery of who writes the notes to her, Miranda experiences new friendships, empathy for others, finds peace about her differences, and learns to have a fruitful relationship with her mother.

When You Reach Me is a mixture of subgenres.  It can be considered science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction (it takes place in 1979), and time travel. Because these topics blend, it can also be considered a hybrid of sorts. My particular fascination with the story is how characters go on adventures and walk freely about the town without fear of being mugged, stolen, or harmed.  This is something parents don't allow their children to do so freely nowadays.  Also, I can appreciate the relation to  A Wrinkle In Time. Reading this novel in class along with A Wrinkle In Time would create great opportunities for literary analysis, character motivation, plot development, compare and contrast, and author's purpose.

This is a summary of the novel from Miranda's point of view.

Requirement: selection by Rebecca Stead
Book cover image found on Amazon.com
YouTube video created by Tyler Pence