Book #1: When You Reach Me

Book #1: When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

January Book Choices (Polls closed Dec 20):

  1. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
  2. Into the Dream by William Sleator
  3. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The SRC has spoken! Serious Readers voted for each of the January book choices, but one book leaped out as the one our club must read first: When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead.

When You Reach Me has been described as "sci-fi meets mystery meets…something else" with an "ending [that] will BLOW YOUR MIND"! Twelve-year-old Miranda lives in New York City and, like many of you, she struggles with everyday problems, like stuff at home with her mom and kids at school. One day she begins receiving a series of mysterious notes warning her of a tragedy that only she can prevent. Stranger still, these notes accurately predict the future! When You Reach Me has won several prestigious awards, among them the 2010 Newbery Medal. It is widely available at libraries and bookstores everywhere.

Here are a couple of things to pay attention to as you begin reading:

  • When You Reach Me was set in the late 1970's, even though it was written just a few years ago. See if you notice any differences between the 70's and now, and if these differences help you understand why the author may have chosen this setting.
  • Author Rebecca Stead was significantly influenced by Madeleine L'Engle's classic, A Wrinkle in Time . If you're a fan of this book too, you'll enjoy several connections between it and When You Reach Me. See if you can pick up on some of the similarities!

Images and excerpts from When You Reach Me by Author Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb Books, Yearling Newbery

Wow, Serious Readers! You knew what you were doing when you chose this book.

I can practically feel my mind bending around the tricky time travel concepts in this book, not to mention the intriguing cast of characters! What’s with Marcus, the kid in the green army coat, who punches Miranda's best friend, Sal, for no apparent reason? And he tells time by looking at the position of the sun behind a building! Why doesn't Sal want to hang out with Miranda anymore? And then there’s Julia, the world traveler, who’s always sporting the latest fashion trends from Europe. And we can't forget "The Laughing Man," on the corner, shaking his fist at the sky and crying, "What's the burn scale?" (when his head isn't underneath the mailbox that is...)

Be sure to download this month's Discussion Guide, full of fun activities:

  • “Detective Work” will help you organize and analyze the four mysterious notes that Miranda receives. You’ve probably noticed the book jumps around in time (kind of feels like time travel, huh?) Having these clues at your fingertips will come in handy to keep everything straight. 
  • "People Aren’t Always What They Seem” will help you track characters throughout the story. You’ll be amazed at how different they seem by the end of the book.
  • Discussion Questions will get your "inner critic" wheels turning as you contemplate what you've read
  • Journal Ideas will help you explore some of this book's big ideas through writing

Be sure to submit a comment below and let me know how you're liking the book so far! And don't forget to cast your vote for our February book by Sunday, January 20.

Images and excerpts from When You Reach Me by Author Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb Books, Yearling Newbery

Serious Readers,

You're going to LOVE the comments from your SRC friends across the map who joined in our January book discussion! It seems our first book selection, When You Reach Me , was a home run! 

Watch our latest SRC episode above and hear SRC Cadet Jonathan's insights about the book's suspenseful style, and watch Serious Reader Matt's video commentary regarding the amazing ending (don't worry, my video doesn't spoil the ending if you haven't finished the book). And just wait until you hear Serious Reader Ana's opinions regarding Author Rebecca Stead's use of foreshadow!

If you haven't already, be sure to download the Discussion Guide, full of fun activities, questions and journal topics. And don't forget to rate the book!

You can even catch Serious Reader Matt's video in its entirety right here:

[BOOK ENDING "SPOILER" ALERT - Start watching Matt's video at the 1:10 minute marker if you haven't finished the book yet!]

Images and excerpts from When You Reach Me by Author Rebecca Stead, Wendy Lamb Books, Yearling Newbery

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