When You Reach me

By Rebecca Stead

when you reach me by Rebecca SteadA few chapter into this book, the main character, Miranda, talked about her favorite book “A Wrinkle in Time.” And by divine intervention or serendipity, I had just read it. Should’ve known it was a hint about what was happening to Miranda early in the book though.

Though the mysterious notes held the biggest surprise in the story, I like the way Rebecca brought in many aspects of a 6 grader’s life. Her friendships with new and old people, her relationship with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend.

And the way she showed what Miranda think of herself brought out something that I am still struggling with sometimes, things like I am not smart enough, not pretty enough.

Although “When You Reach Me” was written for children, I think adults will be intrigue by it as well.

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle

It’s incredible how A Wrinkle in Time, a sci-fi/fantasy published in 1962, is still fresh and relevant.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe first time “IT” was mentioned in the book, I read it as “I”, “T”, like the department you call when your network or computer died at work.

Near the end of the story, we found it IT is a powerful brain, a tyrant, that imposes logical yet unreasonable rule in the name of equality. And the reason IT is so is because no one loves IT. What I got from the book is that having a brain without a heart will lead to darkness.

As Information Technology develops, people seems to be more distant. You often see a group of people sitting together but they are all on the computer or their cell. Granted you can connect with people far away but if you are not more aware, you might become disconnected to yourself.

The other thing I liked was how Mag Murry (the heroine) realizes that she expects other people to do what she thinks is needed because she avoids fixing it herself. And when it didn’t work out, she blames people and complains that nothing is being done.

Luckily, I have learned a few years ago that if you want things/people to change, you have to change yourself first. And the funny thing is, once you change yourself, it didn’t matter if those things/people changed or not.

Madeleine L’Engle wrote with a brain and a heart. As I go on and write my own stories, I am inspired to carry the same sensibility between my words.

The City & The City

by China Mieville

The City & The City by China MievilleI found this book hard to read, mostly because I don’t know if the words I don’t understand are made up or not. (Brought back painful memories of reading The Lord of The Rings before my English was good enough for it.)

The concept of two cities occupying the same location where people from one city has to UNSEE the people from the other was interesting but if I didn’t remember Nancy Pearl’s intro to the book, I’d think I need to retake all of my English classes.

Other things that bothered me about this concept is that drivers have to avoid cars from the other city and unsee them at the same time. Perhaps I missed the explanation/description somewhere…

The story itself was slow at first but once it brought in the BREACH (power that is higher than both cities) it flowed better. However, since I have to guess about how the cities work and how the murder happened at the same time, it took me a long time to finish the book.

The overall idea is original and intriguing just wish I was able to catch up with the language. For fantasy/sci-fi readers, this is a good one to try.