Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Review - Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Published by: Wally Lamb Books
Publication Date: July 14th 2009
Format: Hardcover, 197 Pages
Rating: ★★★
To Buy
Miranda's life seems pretty normal, until her best friend Sal gets punched by Marcus, even if she didn't know the kids name was Marcus till later. After that everything changes. Sal will no longer speak to her, so she now has to walk home alone, everyday, past the crazy guy on the corner. She would be very isolated if it wasn't for her new friend Annemarie and her battered copy of A Wrinkle in Time. But slowly something bizarre and almost sinister happens. Anonymous and cryptic notes start arriving foretelling death and doom. Notes that with each appearance make Miranda realize this stranger knows way too much about her life. But can Miranda figure out who will die and why before it's too late?

I am truly at a lose as to why this book won the Newbury. Last year The Graveyard Book was right on, complex and interesting. This book was simplistic and it felt dated, like it was not just set in the seventies, but written in the seventies, and not in a good way. Plus can we say dense heroine! I can only assume that the librarians felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for all the Wrinkle in Time correlations and references that they thought it should win. Personally, I never liked A Wrinkle in Time, despite having read it many times I just don't get what there is about it that keeps people coming back. Then again, maybe everyone's just going back and re-reading it to see why everyone's talking about it making it some bizarre loop appropriate for this book. The fact that Miranda could not grasp the basics of time travel, even though she's read A Wrinkle in Time millions of times makes her irredeemable as a heroine. They had Doctor Who in the seventies, she can't be this thick. I can't believe children, who in this day and age have grown up with Harry Potter and the time-turner, could stand her not grasping the simplest ideas of time travel and having to sit through explanations that a kindergartner could grasp. I really just wanted to smack her upside the head and go wibbly wobbly timey wimey bitch. Sorry for the profanity, but I think she needs a right old smack down.

But I haven't gotten to what really bugged me, and this would be aside from the dentist's office being in the school, wtf really. Let's go back to a book I hate. I know other's love it, I just don't. This book being The Time Traveller's Wife. This was truly The Time Traveller's Wife written for children. All great deeds and true love and yadda, yadda, didn't like it then, and I sure as hell didn't like a dumbed down version of it. Right about now you're probably thinking, and why did she give it three stars? Because it was fast, and even if it was predictable, linearly convoluted with an annoying character who loves a book I don't, I still had some kernel of fun reading it. Award winning? Not in my book. But it's a quick read if you want something to divert you for an hour or two. Plus love and self sacrifice, not bad themes to promote.


I agree. It was pretty dull and I never liked A Wrinkle in Time. Thanks for your honest review!

You'll always get honesty with me! What's the point of reading if you write 5 star reviews for everything?

Hmm. I have a friend who raved about this, and I sort of want to read it, but I don't completely trust said friend's recommendations because I know she tends to like things more sentimental/predictable/saccharine/etc. However, I DID like TTW, and I do like convoluted (at times), so that bit kind of intrigues me. Hmm, I say...

I can gaurantee a fast read at least! So there's that :)

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