When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

May 15, 2012

I had a really hard time deciding how to rate this book. By the end, I was completely engrossed, but at the beginning, not so much. The book started out too much like every other middle grade book I've read lately: first person, a somewhat immature, distant parent, a friendship gone wrong. Plus, I was extremely confused. Like, I had no idea WHAT was going on. But then the pieces started fitting together, and it took a turn that I was completely not expecting, and all of a sudden, I found myself loving the book. And I decided that I actually like books that I can't understand if they come together so perfectly in the end. :-)

And now for my soap box: my one problem with the book (the way it started and the confusion in the beginning ended up not being problems) actually took up no more than two paragraphs. It was this: at the end, when everything is figured out, and everyone is happy, Miranda and her mom give a key to their apartment to her mom's boyfriend. Now the boyfriend is a nice guy and not in the least bit creepy, so you actually want things to work out between him and the mom. BUT, the next morning, it's obvious that Richard has stayed the night there. WHAT? This is a book for 9-14 year-olds! This is not portrayed as something bad, but rather a happy ending. I would not want my 9-year-old to read this and think, "Yay! Richard moved in with them! That's so wonderful." Of course, like I said, this takes up less than two paragraphs (and I've taken up as much space with this tirade), so obviously, nothing too revealing is said, but I'm still so sad that a book for children written in 2009 can portray live-in boyfriends as okay, even desirable.

Enough said on that point, and as far as the book as a whole, it's very different from anything else written recently and so creative and captivating. It boggles the brain, and after you're done with it, it leaves you thinking.

This review was written before the birth of this blog.

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