When You Reach Me is Rebecca Steed’s Middle Grade time travel novel. The main character, Miranda, is a twelve-year-old girl growing up in New York City in a single-parent household. In addition to dealing with the challenges of growing up, she keeps getting messages that mention things about her no one else should know. The only conclusion is they come from the future, and she must piece them together to find out what the sender wants.
What makes this story different is the time travel is not dominant in the story. Instead, the book is mostly dedicated to the struggles Miranda faces as she matures. The reader sees her interaction with her peers and her family, and her school, and how she grows through them. As a person who never lived in a town with a population greater than 150,000, I think it’s an interesting look at what it would be like to grow up in New York City.
I found the plot lines concerning her growth interesting and as a reader found her an identifiable character. When the time travel plot concludes at the end, however, it comes as a letdown. I was expecting a more dramatic ending, but it never materialized. Still, Miranda is a memorable character and when I finished the book, I found myself missing the character. To me, that’s the mark of a good book.