While many of my favorite books are Newbery Medalists, I have often wondered why it seems Newberys only go to "serious" books about "serious" subjects. Maybe all the discussion about this subject influenced the committee the last few years. Last year's The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman certainly wasn't a typical Newbery winner. And When You Reach Me (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009) doesn't quite fit the mold either.
I'm glad on both counts.
Stead's book released last summer to rave reviews from critics and bloggers alike. A complex mystery that takes place in 1979 New York City, it tells the story of 12-year-old Miranda who starts receiving strange, anonymous letters that successfully predict future events, and also warn about a tragedy on the horizon.
Stead portrays the last 70s perfectly, complete with Miranda's mother prepping for an appearance on The $10,000 Pyramid (a popular game show of the day for you younger readers). Miranda carries around a well-worn copy of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, the plot of which plays its own role in the mystery that has become Miranda's life.
Far from "unreadable", I found When You Reach Me more like un-put-downable, and salute the Newbery committee on yet another well-deserved winner.
Appropriate for readers 9 and up. 4 1/2 bookmarks.