Pretty Amazing

Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me is being touted as a YA (young adult) novel, and I’m not sure why.  I think it would be appropriate for precocious fourth and fifth graders, too.  In fact, Monica Edinger at Educating Alice read it to her fourth grade class (an early edition of it, because it just came out in July!).

If you read A Wrinkle in Time when you were little and loved it, I think you’ll like this one.  The deeper you go into the book, you realize what a gem it is.  It’s a book I would be proud to have written…and that is the highest compliment I can give it.

I hadn’t heard of Stead before, so you can imagine when I finished, I Googled her, and found out that this is her second book.  First Light is on its way to me now!

If you’re curious what When You Reach Me is about, here’s the publication copy:

“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.”

It’s a little about time travel, and yet it’s not ponderous on the how to part; it just makes sense…and creates lots of questions for inquiring minds.

A perfect book, in my opinion.

[Post image: Partial of When You Reach Me cover]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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