Sunday, February 28, 2010

Do You Believe?


today I want to highlight two fantastic books.

The first, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is the Newbery Medal winner for this year.

It is fun, creative and has some really surprising twists.

You can hand it to your daughter, son, niece, nephew or whoever and know they'll enjoy the characters and say no way! at the end.

Definitely worthy of the Newbery - congrats on a job well done, Rebecca Stead!


The crux of this book is tied to the concept of time travel and a favorite classic of mine, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.

After reading When You Reach Me, I pulled A Wrinkle in Time off my shelf and re-read it. It was just as fun as when I was eleven.


These are both Middle Grade novels and are a great example of why I love this genre so much.

Want to know another cool connection for me?

It is a tenuous thread, I'll admit .. but fun all the same. My editor, Margaret Ferguson at FSG, recently made a deal to have A Wrinkle in Time turned into a graphic novel (think comic book style read). Cartoonist Hope Larson will do the honors. Hope is an amazing artist and I think it is a brilliant idea.


So - who out there has read either of these books? Did you like them, or not? Are you interested in time travel? Do you believe it's possible? Ever dream about it as a child? Let me know!
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40 comments:

Danyelle said...

I loved A WRINKLE IN TIME! (And all of the books in the series.) I haven't heard of WHEN YOU REACH ME, so I shall have to remedy that. :)

Time travel, like anything else, is wonderful when done well. For me it's how the story is written and the characters. :D

Susan Fields said...

How funny you should bring this up. My WIP, KILLING KESSLER is about time travel, so that's about all I've been thinking about these days. I haven't heard of WHEN YOU REACH ME - thanks for the recommendation! And of course I loved A WRINKLE IN TIME - so creative!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Read A Wrinkle in Time as a child and it is in part the reason why I write. Read The Time Traveler's Wife as an adult and it continues to be why I write. With a God like ours...who is to say all that goes on?
~ Wendy

Solvang Sherrie said...

My recently finished novel involves time travel so, yeah, you could say I'm a fan :) I haven't read When You Reach Me yet but I love Wrinkle. How cool that they're making it into a graphic novel!

Amy Saia said...

I've always loved time travel. When I worked at the library for seven years, it was always looking for books with that subplot, and I always knew I'd write about it. Jack Finney is my favorite author.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I loved WHEN YOU REACH ME, but I didn't love A WRINKLE IN TIME. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person on the face of our planet that didn't love A WRINKLE IN TIME. Ah well.

Also, Tess: I nominated you for the "Creative Writer Blogger Award" in my blog today. : )

Paul Greci said...

When I was teaching, I used several time travel short stories with my older students. We always had fascinating discussions. I haven't read When You Reach Me, but have read A Wrinkle in Time.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I have a friend with a very similiar name to Rebecca Stead, and I did a doubletake! :0)

Michelle said...

I loved When You Reach Me! I read it shortly after the Newbery Awards were announced. Rebecca Stead does a wonderful job of hinting at what is happening while maintaining suspense for the reader.

And A Wrinkle in Time and the other books in the series are classics. Hmm. Maybe I need to revisit those too.

Janice said...

I'm eager to read When You Reach Me. I read, "A Wrinkle in Time" years ago. I don't remember liking it but I was 10. Maybe I will give it another try. For me, "Little Woman" changed the way I looked at books and I became an avid reader because of it. Also, "The Secret Garden" and "The Little Princess". And, "Mandy" by Julie Andrews, as in "The Sound of Music" Julie Andrews. Brilliant book.

Robyn Campbell said...

I love When You Reach Me. Such a fantabulous story. I didn't like A Wrinkle in Time, the first time I read it ( a few years ago)Tess. But loved it after rereading it not so long ago. What a great book. Books like this set me on this writing path. And writing MG is just so DANG COOL. Nice post. =)

Tess said...

I'll agree w/ those who say that WRINKLE isn't the easiest read .. I mean, it is 48 years old and fiction sure has changed. I guess my appreciation for that series comes from the fact that it is the first sci fi book that I ever read. I mean, pre Star Wars and everything :D

thanks for weighing in on these books, guys! And, Janice: I loved Mandy, too.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Gosh, I'm out of it. I've never read either of these books. Wah.
Will bookmark them, though. :)

lotusgirl said...

I loved A Wrinkle in Time as an adult (even though I thought Meg was kind of whiney). I haven't gotten to this year's newbery yet. I'll have to put it on my list. I'm not a big fan of time travel book though. I'm not really sure why. Maybe part of it is because so often the going back and fixing things in the past is the solution. It seems like a cop out to me.

Karen said...

Sweet! I didn't know they were turning it into a graphic novel. What a classic! (And I think that When You Reach Me is destined for the same fate.)

laurel said...

I'm excited about the graphic novelization of Wrinkle. I love L'Engle, thought it was actually the family relationships in the story that drew me in far more than the SciFi elements. I really related to Meg living in the shadows of siblings and bit-personality parents and learning her own particular strengths in crisis.

BTW, I have a gift for you on my blog also! 'Cause you're just that awesome. :-)

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

I read, and loved, both even though I'm not a big fan of time travel books. I think that speaks to the fact that both authors do such a great job with the characters. They're lovable, believable and entertaining.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Like Amy, I read and loved both. But I also they seem to be not so science fictiony to me. Rebecca Stead's style is so careful and clear and because it was the 1970s and the world of my childhood it seemed so concrete. Maybe that is why they felt so different because they have such settled locations in time despite the time traveling.

Susan R. Mills said...

I haven't read either of these books. I think I'll get them. My son would enjoy them too.

Angie said...

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my most favorite books ever and a huge inspiration on my own writing!

Elana Johnson said...

I need to get the Newberry winner. I've read a Wrinkle in Time and love it. So glad you approve of this year's Newberry winner! It's on my TBR list. :)

Elle Strauss said...

I've read both of them. I really loved When you Reach Me, so clever.

Plus, I love Time Travel. I'm posting tomorrow about a Time Travel book contest, so, so cool to find you today.

Sharon Mayhew said...

I read Wrinkle in Time, but it's been so long ago I couldn't give you an opinion on it. I've been reading a lot of WWII stuff, English books published in the early 50's and twisted ya...

Jackee said...

Yay for a graphic novel! The first time I read WIT, it made me laugh (in a good way) because of all the 60s slang. I wonder if someday we'll laugh at all our slang in our contemporary books.

L.T. Elliot said...

I loved A Wrinkle in Time but I haven't yet read this other book. But with your glowing recommendation, you can bet that I will be!

ali said...

Awesome! I'm always on the lookout for books my boys would love, thanks for the reviews! And A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all time fave books. YES I believe time travel to be possible! And I'd totally do it if I could! :)

MG Higgins said...

I love both of these. Wrinkle in Time as a graphic novel? What a fabulous idea. (Like you, it's books like these that inspire--and make me glad--I write middle grade.)

Mary Aalgaard said...

I like Wrinkle, read it a couple times. It stimulates the imagination and heart. I like time travel stories, but have to tell myself to NOT over-analyze them, or I get bogged down in, ya, but if they hadn't done that then, wouldn't this have been different, and so on. Just read, and let go, I tell myself.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Ahhh, AWIT. I loved Mrs. Whatsit and her odd and funny crew. Such a great book. WYRM is on my TBR list. Heard great things about it.

Terresa said...

Wrinkle in Time is an all time fave.

When you reach me: I need to read that pronto. It's been on my radar and this is another nudge towards cracking it open. I will.

Jody Hedlund said...

My kids love the graphic novels! I'll look forward to the Wrinkle in Time as a graphic when it comes out!

Mary Campbell said...

I love A Wrinkle in Time - I reread it a few years ago and then I decided to read the whole series. The first is definitely the best, but they were all good.

Jenn said...

I love both of these books! The Wrinkle in Time series was one of my favorites as a kid. I recently read When You Reach Me too and absolutely loved it, but I have to say I wish I hadn't known there was time travel going in. I stopped reading reviews and descriptions of this book last year as soon as a reviewer mentioned they didn't want to give away too much to spoil it. But hearing it called science fiction and knowing there was a time travel twist was enough for me to predict the plot as I went along. It was still an enjoyable read but I would have liked to have experienced it with all the elements of mystery/suspense/what is going on here that I'm sure the author intended it to have.

About time travel in general, I like it when it works right. I agree with the commenter above who said it can seem like a cop out sometimes. Kind of a deus ex machina resolution if it's not done well. And if the explanations for time travel get too bogged down or scientific I can struggle with it unless there are other compelling parts of the story. (The show Lost is an excellent example of that--I have no idea what the heck is going on there but I'm totally hooked because the characters are great and I'm curious to find out what happens next and what it all means.)

Tess said...

thanks for the comments -- hope some of you have the chance to read When You Reach Me if you haven't.

And - Jenn - you are right! Drat! Why did I mention the time travel element? It was a total spoiler and I didn't even THINK about it until you commented. Sorry all! I'm usually more careful about things like that.

Jenn said...

You are definitely not alone in mentioning it. It was nominated for Cybils in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category afterall, and I swear, I started hearing about this book early last year from people who had gotten ARCs and time travel was almost always mentioned. At the very least that it had a science fiction twist. I think Amazon or some of the online book store descriptions mention it in their summary too. It was still a great read, but I think if I'd gone into it blind I would have had a totally different experience and I'm curious what that would have been like. (And I actually know a couple people who disliked the book enough that they didn't finish it, and I've wondered if that had anything to do with them knowing too LITTLE about it to trust that it was going somewhere.)

Daisy Whitney said...

I have read a Wrinkle in Time and this post is another reminder that I MUST read "When you Reach Me" too!

Tess said...

You bring up a good point, Jenn. I didn't have a clue about the time travel element and maybe that surprise is what made it so fun. Also, I had heard it was a 'tad dry' and was so surprised to find out I disagreed. Loved the characterization and found it very enjoyable. Sometimes low expectations can be a blessing.

Amy Holder said...

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all time favorites! I read it countless times growing up and recently purchased it from Amazon to read again as an adult. It inspired me to write so many time travel stories when I was younger. I'm super excited about the graphic novel concept - how cool!

Now I'm going to check out When You Reach Me!Thanks for the suggestion!

Crystal said...

Hi Tess! Late getting to this post . . . but I read WHEN YOU REACH ME a month or two before the Newbery's were announced, and I loved it! Really took me back to my younger days in NYC. I haven't read A Wrinke in Time since I was a kid, and don't remember liking it quite as much (think I was more into Judy Blume at the time!). I do plan on reading it again, though, because the concept of time-travel is definitely intriguing!

Kelly H-Y said...

Thank you so much for the great review ... sounds like it might be a perfect one for my teen nieces!!!