Thursday, February 11, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

2010 Newbery Award Winner

6th grader Miranda is searching for more than a new friend when her best friend Sal stops speaking to her. In the streets of 1978 New York City Miranda knows where it is safe to go. She walks to school, finds a new friends, avoids bullies and strangers, and then she starts to receive mysterious letters and the sender seems to know a little too much about her.

When You Reach Me is a novel that works with several themes. There are the wonderful parent/child relationships between Miranda and her mother, and Miranda and her mother's boyfriend. Annemarie and her father, Sal and his mother are all examples of solid parent and child trying to figure it out in an imperfect world. Much like the book that this one mirrors, A Wrinkle in Time, a resonating theme throughout is family love.

And that is what makes this book so wonderful, is because nice, family stories are such a rarity in the children's book world. A problem novel, where the real problem is just growing up and trying to figure it all out, why does someone not want to be my friend? Why is someone a bully? Why are some kids popular and I'm not? It's ok to love your parent(s) and be frustrated with them at the same time. These are the questions and issues that are universal through the decades, and Stead treats them with geniune care and concern.

Much like I felt like time travel was an unnecessary device in A Wrinkle in Time, I felt much the same of its use in here, love of friends and family was the resonating theme in both books, and I think they should be read in conjunction with one another. I can't wait to see that Stead writes next.

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