When You Reach Me: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:04 When Your Reach Me
  • 0:26 Plot Summary
  • 2:33 Characters
  • 3:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to predict the future? That's a big question in the book ''When You Reach Me'' by Rebecca Stead. This lesson summarizes the book and explores the main characters.

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me is a science fiction book written by Rebecca Stead in 2009. Science fiction focuses on imaginary concepts like future universes or time travel. When You Reach Me is all about time travel - the main character, Miranda, receives notes predicting the future! Let's learn more about what happened!

Plot Summary

The plot of a book is what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. When You Reach Me starts with main character Miranda receiving a postcard that seems to predict the future - it knows the exact date that Miranda's mom will compete on a game show called $20,000 Pyramid. The letter scares Miranda because she doesn't know how anybody would know this information. In the present day, Miranda's mom is practicing for her game show competition, but Miranda also tells the reader a little bit about her past:

She has been best friends with a boy named Sal for many years, but recently he got punched by a boy at school. From then on, Sal won't talk to Miranda anymore, and they no longer walk home from school together. After this, Miranda meets the boy who punched Sal - his name is Marcus, and he's very smart.

Miranda begins to make some new friends named Annemarie and Colin. During this time, Miranda gets her first letter one day when she finds her apartment door is unlocked.

She gets another note when she is working at a sandwich shop. The notes ask her to write down things that haven't happened yet. The third letter tells her about three things that are going to happen in the future: there will be stolen rolls in Colin's backpack, she will get a special copy of A Wrinkle In Time for Christmas, and she will receive the postcard at the beginning of the story. All of these things come true!

The climax, or most exciting point, of the book comes when Sal walks into traffic and is almost hit by a truck. The only way he survives is that a strange man called the Laughing Man pushes him out of the way. Unfortunately, the Laughing Man does not survive, and sacrifices his own life for Sal's.

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