Read With Your Teen: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

This book is aimed toward younger teens (the 12 to 14 age range) but it is one of those magical books where you get out of it what you put into it.

While this story won the Newbery in 2010, I often worry it’s going to be forgotten like so many other Newbery winners (sure, some of them, such as Island of the Blue Dolphins, are still classics, but after you read this, go look at the list of Newbury winners since the award was created – the link is at the end of this review. Unless you are a children’s librarian, a LOT of them will be unfamiliar). This book should never be forgotten, because it is a twist in the tale type story that has so much useful-to-any-kids-life info that it should be required reading.

Miranda’s friend, Sal, has just announced that he doesn’t want to be friends any more. So begins a quest to make new friends, but as your child will tell you, that is not always easy, especially when you are going from a place where you were so happy with your best friend, you didn’t feel you needed any others. Now, Miranda has to friend-shop, even though she doesn’t realize that’s what she’s doing. She also has a great relationship with her mother, a wise single mom who is obsessed with getting on a game-show, but not so perfect a relationship that she doesn’t occasionally say or do the wrong thing. When Miranda starts making mistakes with her new friends and getting mysterious notes that indicate something strange and inevitable is going to happen ….well, the pages will keep turning, I promise.

While this novel has a happy ending (yes, I feel the need to warn you that) not all friendships do. Reading this with your kid can start a dialogue about how their friendships are going and why. This book also is something of an ode to A Wrinkle in Time, the 1963 Newbery winner and the main character’s favorite book, so while you do not have to have read it to enjoy this book, it’s a great way to jump right from one book to another if your child is one of those children who has no idea what to read next.

To look at the complete list of Newbery Medal winners, go here:

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