When You Reach Me is a well-crafted mystery of scientific proportions. It starts out rather ordinary, with Miranda helping her mother practice for an appearance on the $20,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark, an iconic 1970’s TV game show.
Miranda is a pretty ordinary New York city middle school kid. Every day she walks home from school past a gang of bullies and a crazy homeless man who sleeps under a mailbox. Then she uses her “latch key” to let herself into the empty apartment.
She lives with her single mom in the same building as her former best friend since forever, a boy named Sam. For some reason Miranda can’t figure out, Sam stopped talking to her the day he got punched by one of the bullies. But that’s not the biggest mystery.
The biggest mystery is a series of strange notes Miranda keeps finding that foretell the future. They turn up in the strangest places, and at first she tries to convince herself that they weren’t meant for her. But soon they get too personalized to ignore.
Miranda reads and rereads Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (a wonderful book, by the way) over and over and over again. She carries it with her everywhere and thinks of it as her own private book.
When she finds out that a girl she dislikes with a passion, and the guy who punched Sam, also like her special book, she’s baffled. How could these two horrible people love her book? And how could Marcus be such a stupid bully and so smart at the same time?
Everything comes together in the end in a very satisfying if surprising way.
When You Reach Me is recommended for kids ages 9 – 12. This kid might even read it again, now that I know what clues to look for.