Friday, March 5, 2010

When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead
Finished March 2, 2010

This book won the 2010 Newbery Medal. I had noticed it a few months before the medal was announced. It looked good, but I didn't read it, obviously, until afterwards.
I enjoyed it but have no opinion on its worthiness to win a Newbery. I'd hate to be on the committee that determines that award. I just wouldn't know how to pick one winner from among hundreds of books published in a single year.
The story is about twelve-year-old Miranda and her friendships and family relationships. I would have liked this story when I was ten, eleven, twelve. It's one of the genre tht I liked back then - what I call "school stories." Miranda is best friends with Sal. That relationship is broken when Sal gets punched in the stomach, for no reason, by another kid from their school.
Miranda must make new friendships and she finds just that with Amanda and Colin. They strenghten their bonds when they all take lunch-time jobs at Jimmy's sandwhich shop.
Meanwhile, Miranda's mother is practicing for an appearance on the $20,000 Pyramid game show (this book is set in 1979). I was thrown for a loop when a mysterious, science-fiction element pops into the story. Miranda keeps finding strange, anonymous notes that seem to predict the future. The book turns from just a "school story" into a science-fiction story. I would have liked that when I was ten, eleven and twelve, too.
In all, I liked this book but it didn't wow me. I wish she had dropped the sci-fi theme and just concentrated on the relationships between her many great characters.


mrshart said...

That sounds really weird. I'd like to hear what adolescents would say about it.

Julia said...

I would've liked it until the sci-fi stuff. you know me. I always say "i don't like fantasy". Julie