Miranda's life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda's mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives: 'I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I ask two favours. First, ...
Miranda's life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda's mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives: 'I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.' The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.
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This twisty, fascinating sci-fi novel for young adults absolutely deserved its Newberry Medal. The life of Miranda, the protagonist, begins to take some strange turns when her best friend is randomly attacked in the street. Along with his subsequent strange behavior, Miranda also begins to receive very strange notes that indicate that the writer knows the future.
This book was pitch-perfect in its observations of kids who are coming to recognize the difficulties in friendships as something beyond black and white, her fault/his fault issues. At its resolution, it also has something very weighty to say about personal responsibility and self-sacrifice, and it says it in the most poignant and haunting way it possibly could. It has stuck with me since finishing the book in that I can still get shivers just contemplating the book's denouement.
Definitely pick up this book, whether you are a young adult, or older.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-06-22 Twelve-year-old Miranda, a latchkey kid whose single mother is a law school dropout, narrates this complex novel, a work of science fiction grounded in the nitty-gritty of Manhattan life in the late 1970s. Miranda's story is set in motion by the appearance of cryptic notes that suggest that someone is watching her and that they know things about her life that have not yet happened. She's especially freaked out by one that reads: "I'm coming to save your friend's life, and my own." Over the course of her sixth-grade year, Miranda details three distinct plot threads: her mother's upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid; the sudden rupture of Miranda's lifelong friendship with neighbor Sal; and the unsettling appearance of a deranged homeless person dubbed "the laughing man." Eventually and improbably, these strands converge to form a thought-provoking whole. Stead (First Light) accomplishes this by making every detail count, including Miranda's name, her hobby of knot tying and her favorite book, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. Ages 9-14. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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