Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
Book Review #18: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Overall Rating: 9.2/10
*New Feature!* Setting: 9.5/10
*New Feature!* Plot: 8.7/10
*New Feature!* Characters: 9.8/10
*New Feature!* Writing: 9/10
Sample Passage: “I’d been trying hard not to think about them, but I spent a good chunk of that morning worrying about your notes. I held one in each hand and read them over and over. The part about writing a letter wasn’t too scary. The scary parts were ‘I’m coming to save your friends’s life’ and ‘Oh, by the way, where do you keep your keys?’ and ‘P.S. Don’t ever tell anyone about any of this.’ Seeing my name written out on the second note was also pretty creepy, because I was still trying to pretend the notes weren’t really meant for me. And also where you wrote ‘I won’t be myself when I reach you.’ I didn’t like that part at all.
Come to think of it, there were a lot of scary parts.
*New Feature!* Number of Pages: 197 in the Hardcover version.
Genre: Young-Adult Newbery Award Winning Science Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Summary: Miranda and Sal have been best friends for a lifetime, ever since Miranda and her mom moved to New York City. They’ve always stuck together, through the streets and dangers of living in a big city. Then Sal gets punched, and all of a sudden he doesn’t want to be her friend anymore. The weirdness doesn’t stop there. Miranda starts to get strange notes, and if she doesn’t follow their instructions, someone will die. With someone’s life in danger, she has to race to solve this mystery….before it’s too late.
I thought this book was not very good until the end. We’ll talk about the plot first. At first it will seem a little jumbled, like Stead is just taking out all of the puzzle pieces in the box and laying them out so we can see them. It seems like most of the things that are mentioned are completely irrelevant, and this goes on for half the book, which is why the plot review went down more than a point. However, once the pieces started to come together I was really excited. The only flaw that I can see is that I had to really think it over, and most young adults are not willing to do that. If you stick with it, most likely you won’t be disappointed. It is a really deep plot, however.
The setting was pretty good, it takes place in New York city, but it doesn’t seem like the big kind of New York City. If you didn’t know where the setting was located, you would think it’s just an average town, with a school and a couple of restaurants by it. I like that feel though, I live in a small town myself. There aren’t a lot of places Miranda goes, so there’s no need for a whole lot of description. They mostly keep the plot going.
I liked most of the characters in this book, I wasn’t a huge fan of Sal however, I thought he was just ignoring Miranda for no reason whatsoever and that he was a jerk. The laughing man plays a huge part in this, so don’t just cast him to the side. I like the main character, she’s pretty brave, and I hate it when I read books for people my age now with completely weak feminine main characters.
The writing in this book is very good, there’s a lot of great vocabulary and just enough description. The only thing is that it’s hard to follow sometimes, and you sometimes have to read things over to see them for what they are. That’s the main problem I can see with people reading this book.
Overall this was a great read for me, but be prepared to have to think a lot. I would recommend reading this book, but if you like action and mindless gunk, you probably will just want to let someone else check this out from the library.
Coming up Next: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling or Evermore by Alyson Noel.