When You Reach Me (yearling Newbery)
- Number of Pages: 208
- English (Unknown)
- English (Original Language)
- English (Published)
This remarkable novel holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart. But things start to unravel. Like the crazy guy on the corner. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how you can navigate their New York City neighborhood. Until the final note makes her feel she's too late. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one ought to know. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment important that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. They know exactly where it's secure to go, and they know who to avoid. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper.
Amazon Best of the Month, July 2009: Shortly after sixth-grader Miranda and her best friend Sal part ways, for some inexplicable reason her once familiar planet turns upside down. --Lauren Nemroff Amazon Exclusive: A Q& A with Rebecca Stead We had the opportunity to chat with Rebecca Stead more than e-mail about her second novel, When You Reach Me. Like those earlier novels, When You Reach Me will stir the imaginations of young readers curious about day-to-day life inside a big city. Here's what Rebecca had to say about developing up in New York City, meeting Madeleine L'Engle, and how writing a novel is really a lot like solving a puzzle. Rebecca Stead's poignant novel, When You Reach Me, captures the interior monologue and observations of kids who are beginning to recognize and negotiate the complexities of friendship and family, class and identity. Maybe it's because she's caught up in reading A Wrinkle in Time and attempting to understand time travel, or perhaps it's because she's been receiving mysterious notes which accurately predict the future. Set in New York City in 1979, the story takes its cue from beloved Manhattan tales for middle graders like E. L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy, and Norma Klein's Mom the Wolfman and Me.
Amazon. com: When You Reach Me captures Manhattan in the late 70s perfectly. Why did you choose to set a book for young readers today in the not-too-distant (but very different) past?
Rebecca Stead: I grew up in New York in the seventies and eighties. When I began to write about him, I was suddenly remembering all kinds of particulars and moments and places from my own childhood and happily writing them into the book. And in this way the book's setting sort of rose up about the plot. When I was in elementary school, I became acquainted with a mysterious sort of character, who I wanted to use for this story.
Amazon. Why did you choose pay homage to this particular classic in your own book? com: Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time plays an crucial function in When You Reach Me.
Rebecca Stead: I loved A Wrinkle in Time as a youngster. I remember meeting Madeleine L'Engle once at a bookstore and just staring at her as if she had been a magical individual. What I love about L'Engle's book now is how it deals with so much fragile inner-human stuff at precisely the identical time that it takes on life's big questions. There's something fearless about this book. I didn't know why I loved it, and I didn't need to know why.
It started out as a modest detail in Miranda's story, a sort of talisman, and 1 I believed I would at some point jettison, because you can't just toss A Wrinkle in Time in there casually. So I went back to A Wrinkle in Time and read it once again and again, trying to see it as different characters in my own story might (sounds crazy, but it's achievable! I talked about it with my editor, Wendy Lamb, and to others close for the story. But as my story went deeper, I saw that I didn't want to let the book go. ). And what we decided was that if we had been going to bring L'Engle's story in, we needed to make the book's connection to Miranda's story stronger. And those readings led to new connections.
Amazon. com: I love the way you incorporate hints of science fiction into the ordinary events of Miranda's life. What scientific possibilities (or realities) did you find most interesting growing up?
Rebecca Stead: I believed about time a lot when I was a kid. When I'm forty, will I remember the 'me' I am now? Not in a mystical way--it was just the passing of time, the believed of time stretching out forever, that interested me. Will I remember this moment? What will be the very first words I say inside the year 2000?"I guess part of it was thinking about how we leave ourselves behind in a way, which I think we do, throughout our lives. I used to wonder,"What will my area look like on my thirtieth birthday?
I was also really enthusiastic about what is"knowable."There's a specific quantity of folks alive on this planet right now, and it's a easy quantity that everyone could write down or say aloud, and so in some sense that quantity exists as a truth, however we can't know it. That's the kind of thing I believed about when I was Miranda's age.
Amazon. Why did you decide to write the story in this way? com: Every single of the book's chapters is just several pages in length, but each scene is totally drawn."or"Things On. And why do the majority from the chapters begin utilizing the words"Things That. "?
Rebecca Stead: A lot of my writing is fragmented for some reason. When I started writing my first novel, First Light, a great deal from the raw material was also fragmented, and I had to sort of create them into traditional chapters, which was what worked best for that story. But When You Reach Me is a little like a puzzle, and I loved the challenge of smoothing these small pieces until the whole thing fit together just correct. I used to write short stories, and this was the form they frequently took. It should be a factor regarding the way my brain functions.
The chapter names are (mostly) the names of categories inspired by a game show called The $20,000 Pyramid. They practice each and every night, at the identical time as the game sort of seeps into her general thinking. As she tells her story, Miranda is helping her mother get ready to be a contestant on the show. The book is about all sorts of assumptions and categories we carry in our heads, so it felt right on that level, too.
Amazon. com: At the very starting in the novel, we learn that Miranda's mom is going to develop to be a contestant on the 1970's TV game show The $20,000 Pyramid. Without giving away the ending, why is this opportunity so important for them as a family members?
Rebecca Stead: They need the money! She starts to figure out the way she lives inside a new way, and has to take care of that. It's the beginning of that form of awareness for her, and so the money they hope to win has a excellent deal of meaning for her, but it's a meaning that changes. Not far, but adequate for her to start thinking about class, and the way other people live. Part of what's happening for Miranda in the course of this year is the fact that she gets pushed outside of her formerly tiny world.
Rebecca Stead: They have a pretty nice system, which starts with their neighbor, Louisa, who scribbles down each day's Pyramid clues at her nursing job because she's the only one with access to a television at lunchtime. They operate as a single kind of New York City family, which is probably the crucial thing. After her shift, she leaves the clues with Miranda, who copies them down on cards. Miranda and Richard take turns feeding clues to Miranda's mom while the other one keeps time.
Amazon. Why don't they hang out at school instead? Especially presented that he doesn't invest them. com: Why do Miranda and her buddies Annemarie and Colin like operating in Jimmy's sandwich shop during lunch hour?
Rebecca Stead: It doesn't feel like function to them. Hanging out at school means sitting in the lunchroom, which is not fun. They couldn't even sit together there, merely because Colin would always be sitting with all the boys. It's the most exciting factor ever, except when it's boring. They are twelve, and all they desire to do is see what it's like to be out in the globe together.
Amazon. How about city kids versus suburban kids? com: Do you think latch-key kids like Miranda are any distinct today than they had been back in the 70s?
Rebecca Stead: I'm now raising two kids of my own in New York City, and I think a lot concerning the differences between today's"preteen encounter"and the one I had. Now we have 24-hour-a-day news and twenty-two different police dramas that make continual fear seem type of reasonable. Kids are normally much less independent now, I think. I've heard that the suburban knowledge has also changed a lot. Kids socialize in cyberspace now. The community just doesn't assistance it anymore. My buddies and I had a lot much more freedom than I let my personal kids have. And the net has altered everything, obviously. My husband grew up within the suburbs and his parents hardly ever knew exactly where he was at age twelve. Those days are gone, I believe.
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