Monday, June 22, 2009

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is a book I won't forget for quite a long time. I was fortunate enough to get a review copy from Sally Oddi, owner of Cover to Cover. I had put it in my TBR pile until I read Mary Lee's post about this book (she even links to other reviews). It immediately became the book I needed to read next.

Because of Mary Lee's comments, I made the time to both read and reread this book -- I'm glad I did. There were so many clues to what happens at the end (even the front cover makes sooooooo much more sense); I just missed/overlooked some of them the first time through. For this reason, and a bazillion others, I am definitely thinking about reading this aloud to my students next year.

Yes, the rereading strategy is great, but as Fuse #8 mentions in her comments about the book when she added When You Reach Me to her mid-year Newbery list, the story jumps back and forth in time. Thinking through these jumps with students would be important. I do worry that a student reading this on their own might get confused, or not even realize that there were changes in time. Or maybe this is just an excuse to read this book with as many people as possible. :)

I'm being a little vague in this post because I can't tell many things without giving the important plot points away. Giving those plot points away will detract from your reaction to the ending. I will say it is character driven, but character motivation in When You Reach Me is critical -- yet another great conversation to have with students.

This book also has a section that deals with someone trying to be successful on the game show, The $20,000 Pyramid, that brought back many fond college memories for me. Lots of time spent playing this game with college friends.

I have read so many fabulous books this summer, but When You Reach Me is by far one of the best.


  1. Didn't you love the chapter titles? They could be writing prompts!!!

  2. I read it twice and still didn't pick up on that -- just went back and looked. Oh my gosh! They match the kinds of categories on the $20,000 pyramid -- I finally get it!

    And yes, they would make great writing prompts.