Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Rebecca Stead”

Alli’s #CBR4 Review #47 – When you Reach me by Rebecca Stead


I purchased this book off Amazon to read on my Kindle app and I have been reading it here and there when I had nothing better to do and I finally finished it on Sunday night when I was waiting for the Paul McCartney show to start (incredible show btw). I think I had this book mixed up with another with a similar title when I bought it but I can’t recall which book that I thought it was anyways.

I didn’t realize when I bought it (since I bought the wrong book ) but “When you Reach me” is actually a young adult novel but it was pleasant enough for a grown up like me to read as well. It follows a young woman named Miranda who lives in New York City. She finds a series of strange notes that seem to come from a time traveller.

Read the rest on my blog

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review # 25: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I vaguely remember first hearing about When You Reach Me (2009) by Rebecca Stead, I think from another Cannonball review. It’s probably not a book I would have found on my own, but it ended up on my kindle, so I read it. And it turned out to be a quick read: a well-written novel with a mix of growing pains, friendships, mystery, and science fiction.

Miranda is a sixth grader in New York City. She is smart and insightful and lives with her single mom in a rather rundown apartment building. Miranda’s favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which she reads over and over again.Her mother was almost finished with her first year of law school when Miranda was born–derailing that dream before it began. When Miranda begins receiving mysterious notes that predict the future, the mystery of the novel is hatched.

I enjoyed reading this one–it took less than a day, but it wasn’t the science-fiction and mystery that I remember at the end. The description of Miranda’s thoughts and perspective was what impressed me most. Stead brought such realism to the angsty life of a pre-teen. Miranda’s struggles of avoiding the homeless guy and boys on the street on her walk home, her concern of what her friends would think of her apartment, her first crush, and her realization of how she had the power to make others’ lives better or worse were all very relatable and felt very true. The mystery kept the story moving, but almost felt out of place in this very normal, sixth-graders life. I guess I’ve just rarely seen such great characterization in a science-fiction novel.

And now I feel like I should re-read A Wrinkle in Time. I know I read it in elementary school, but besides thinking it was kind of confusing at the time, I can’t remember anything about it.

idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #3: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

On a lark, I picked up When You Reach Me from the Newberry Award shelf at the public library while the little pug was searching for a new Garfield book.  I knew nothing about the book, which is a fairly unusual reading experience for me.  Once I started it, I found it hard to put it down, and I probably could have read the whole thing in a sitting had my “real” life not interfered.  There were some obvious giveaways to the “surprise” ending of the novel, but the story was still engaging and smart.

Rebecca Stead sets her novel in New York City in 1979.  The date is important because the narrator’s mother has won a chance to appear on the gameshow $25,000 Pyramid, which was in its heyday in ’79.  While Miranda helps her overworked mom try to practice for the gameshow, she also struggles through the problems inherent in being a pre-teen girl.  Her mom is overly cautious and keeps putting off marriage to her nearly-perfect boyfriend, Richard, and Miranda’s best friend, Sal, whom she’s known practically forever, has suddenly stopped wanting to be friends.  Miranda traces his change in attitude to a day when they were walking home from school together and Sal was suddenly punched by an older boy for seemingly no reason.  Without Sal, Miranda has to look elsewhere for friendship, and she finds it with Annamarie, who has recently had a falling-out with her own best friend, Julia, whom Miranda hates.  Both Miranda and Annamarie seem to have a crush on the same boy, and he starts hanging out with them as the three get a sort-of part-time job working during lunch at a sandwich shop near their school.  She also meets the boy who punched Sal, Marcus, who is surprisingly nice to her and talks to her about the dog-eared copy of A Wrinkle in Time that Miranda carries around almost like a security blanket.  Miranda narrates the book, and she tells these events to a mystery character, a stranger who left her a note saying he was trying to save her friend and possibly himself and giving her a list of things to do to help him achieve his goal.  At first, Miranda is scared by the stranger’s notes, but she is intrigued when she realizes he knows things that no one should know about her, including things that haven’t happened yet.  One of his instructions to her is to write him a letter, and the book seems to become the letter she is still debating whether or not to write.   

As I said, the story is engaging, and I like a sci-fi story whose non-sci-fi elements seem real.  We can all relate to Miranda’s struggles with her family and friends, even though the gameshow seems a bit of a stretch.  There were a lot of elements to the story, though, for such a short book, and some seemed extraneous.  For example, there’s a moment when Miranda and her friends confront racism, which is admirable but feels out of place in the novel.  I also thought the mystery of who was leaving the notes was pretty easy to figure out, but there were a few surprises, and the book kept my interest.

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