If You Liked A Wrinkle in Time …

Then I have something new for you.

posted by Gina

Remember A Wrinkle in Time?  I mean, what a great book.

Vintage cover, from my childhood.

Many elementary teachers still trot this out for book club or circle reading (I sure did), so your young person might be familiar already. How I loved (and still love) misfit Meg, with her temper and her glasses and her grim determination.

And, of course, the story – the mysterious strangers, the long-lost father, the journey to other worlds, the terror of IT, and the power of love.  What more could we want? 

Bonus alternatives:  Madeline L’Engle herself narrates the audiobook, which is just fabulous, and includes a delightful intro describing how the book came to be and how difficult it was to find a publisher. There’s also a graphic novel version, which I just found online and hey, what a great idea that is.

Strangely, the other books in the “Time Quintet” series couldn’t keep my attention.  I’ve had plenty of students who couldn’t have been more delighted with the further adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace, but their delight was not my delight.   A Wrinkle in Time, howeverI trot out every year or so, never tiring.

So, if you’re like me, or your kiddo is like me, you’re going to fall over in delight when I tell you about this:

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

Appropriate for: 4th/5th and up

It’s a hard book to describe, especially when wary of giving away key plot twists and revelations.

Let’s just say there are some things you should know about our hero, Miranda:

  • She loves A Wrinkle in Time, and the book plays a key part in the story.
  • Mysterious notes – apparently predicting the future – are appearing in her apartment, asking for her help.
  • Her best friend, Sal, recently ended their long-term friendship for no clear reason.

I want desperately to tell you more – but want more for you to have the same happy, happy feeling of right-ness that comes when all the clues and solutions and semi-science-fiction elements come together in a perfect, satisfying, ‘of course’ ending.

Some Other Links:

  • This takes place in 70s Manhattan (“I wanted to show a world of kids with a great deal of autonomy, and I wasn’t sure that it would ring true in a modern New York setting,” the author says).  For other savvy-youngster-in-New-York stories (with specific geographic references), check out the classics Harriet the Spy and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
  • I don’t know where she came from, but Rebecca Stead is just fabulous.  Her third book, Liar & Spy, is a compelling and equally satisfying read.

Author: Gina L. Grandi

Moderately well-read. Fairly socially awkward. According to Greg, 'a sentimental cynic with artistic sensibilities.' Somewhat nifty.

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