Sincerely, Guess Who…

October 4th, 2009 by

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Last night as I was walking home, I noticed a slip of paper lying on the ground under a tree. At first I thought it was a postcard, but when I saw another identical paper a few feet away, I looked closer and realized it was a bunch of promotional fliers for a restaurant.

Too bad. For a split second, I had entertained the notion that it was a series of postcards, deliberately left in a trail along the sidewalk for a specific person to find. Wouldn’t that have been much more exciting than the plain old litter it turned out to be?

I guess I’m just under the influence of When You Reach Me, a new novel by Rebecca Stead that I read last week. In the book, sixth-grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious messages from a stranger who seems to know the future — and I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to finish the whole thing and discover the end of the story.

Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright (Don't be turned off by this baby-ish cover; this book is AWESOME!)

Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright (Don't be turned off by this baby-ish cover; this book is AWESOME!)

Funnily enough, I also just bought myself a copy of another book involving anonymous messages — Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze, a childhood favorite of mine by Elizabeth Enright. It’s the last book in a series about the Melendy family, but I read it first and it’s still the installment that I love the best. In it, Randy and Oliver are feeling lonely after their older siblings all leave home for school. But things change in an instant when they receive a surprise message from an anonymous source, leading them on a treasure hunt via more mysterious notes and clues.

So, who’s behind all these strange notes? In the case of When You Reach Me, I figured out the sender partway through the book — but I was stumped as to why, up until the dramatic ending. With Spiderweb for Two, I couldn’t even begin to guess who the messages were from — but I loved following along with Randy and Oliver as they pieced together each new puzzle.

Now I’m wondering: is it just a coincidence that I got my hands on these two books in the same week? Could it be a sign? Maybe I myself will soon receive notes from a stranger…

Or, hey, if you guys leave me some comments on this post, then I guess those would count! Not quite as mysterious and thrilling as what I had in mind, but I’ll take it! Especially if guys have any recommendations for other children’s books about characters who get messages from mysterious sources. The only other one I can think of is The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh — a kind of sequel to Harriet the Spy in which someone starts leaving disturbing notes for various town residents. But that’s not quite the same idea. Although, if I stumble across of copy of The Long Secret in the next few days, then I’ll know something is really up with the universe and I have an adventure in store!

— Karen

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