When You Reach Me is actually a very confusing book to understand. I had to read certain parts several times. This is what I got out of it:
Setting: Late 1970’s
Miranda: Main character. Been receiving notes saying that someone is coming to save Miranda’s friend’s life.
Miranda’s Mom: Training to compete in The $20000 Pyramid, a game show where she can win money. Lives with Miranda in a run down, roach infested apartment.
Richard: Miranda’s Mom’s boyfriend. Has one leg longer than the other.
Sal: Miranda’s ex- best friend. Shunned her after some random kid punched him in the stomach.
Marcos: Boy who punched Sal. Actually a very nice kid. Interested in time travel.
The Laughing Man: Crazy guy who sleeps under his mailbox.
Annemarie: Miranda’s new friend. Used to hang out with Julia.
Julia: Slightly snobbish girl. Used to hang out with Annemarie. Doesn’t like Miranda.
Colin: Works with Annemarie and Miranda at a shop.
Jimmy: The not-so-nice employer of Colin, Annemarie, and Miranda.
Problem: Who is sending the notes? Why is Sal shutting Miranda out? Will Miranda’s mom win her much needed money? Who stole from Jimmy’s bank? Who is the laughing man? Will the person sending the letters save Miranda’s friend?
I actually LOVED When You Reach Me. It was a great mystery book with just a touch of magic.
Due to it’s complex manner, When You Reach Me is appropriate for 6th to 8th graders and deserves 5 stars.