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Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me

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Miranda's life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda's mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives:
'I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own.
I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.'
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.
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138 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
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  • Lola Lobashared an impression7 years ago
    🔮Hidden Depths
    🌴Beach Bag Book


  • Marshared an impression2 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths
    💞Loved Up

  • missninashared an impression4 years ago
    💞Loved Up


  • Ramina Bebezovahas quoted5 years ago
    The underside of a mailbox is really ugly—a bunch of paint-splattered metal joints and bolts. I see the square of paper right away. It’s small, about the same size as the notes you left me, and it’s wedged under a metal seam so that it stays flat against the bottom of the box. I realize that it’s held there with a key—our old key, the one we hid in the fire hose. I adjust my head so that I’m looking straight up at the paper, the way you must have.

    A woman’s face stares down at me, drawn in pencil. She’s old, like you were. Her white hair is pulled back behind her head, her dark eyes are looking to the side a little, and she has this playful smile. It’s really kind of a beautiful drawing.

    People can get old all different ways, I guess. Some people change a lot, like you. I could have stared at your face for a week and I never would have guessed that you were Marcus. You were so much thinner than he is, and the bones above your eyes stuck out. Maybe that was because of what you put yourself through—all the diamond-jumping. But the old woman’s face in the drawing still holds some youth. It’s the dark eyes, maybe, or the smile. It’s hard to say exactly how we recognize other people. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that this woman is Julia.

    Marcus and Julia. I think about how she whipped her diamond ring off and used it to explain the way she sees time, and the way Marcus stared at her afterward. Maybe he was thinking that he wasn’t alone in the world after all. I get this rush of happiness, this flood of relief. Marcus won’t be alone. He’ll have a partner. He’ll have Julia.

    I’m wiggling out from under the mailbox—some guy with a big black dog is looking at me funny—and I suddenly remember what you said to me, practically on this exact spot, the afternoon I gave you my soggy cheese sandwich: I’m an old man, and she’s gone now. So don’t worry, okay?

    I believe that you were ready. But I still think it’s sad.

    I leave the drawing there, wedged underneath the mailbox with our key. It doesn’t seem right to take it. I figure it will be there for a long time, and then, someday, it’ll just blow away.
  • Marhas quoted2 years ago
    Well, it’s simple to love someone,” she said. “But it’s hard to know when you need to say it out loud.”
  • Marhas quoted2 years ago
    looked at me and grinned, causing my stomach to sort of float inside my body

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