84 pages 2 hours read

Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2009

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Character Analysis

Miranda Sinclair

Miranda is the 12-year-old narrator and protagonist of the story. She lives in New York City with her mother and has never known her father. In contrast to her mother’s bouncy, vibrant curls, Miranda’s hair is “straight, brown, and just kind of there” (27). Her best friend is Sal, a boy her age who lives in the apartment just below hers. Her favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which she carries with her everywhere and reads repeatedly.

Miranda is judgmental of her mother throughout most of the story. She criticizes the way her mother dresses, and she criticizes the state of their apartment without seeming to understand the stress and hardships her mother faces in trying to raise her alone.

A “new” Miranda (147) emerges after winter break. After reflecting on her friendships, Miranda returns to school with a new energy to repair them. She offers to be her classmate’s bathroom partner, extends a truce offering to her nemesis Julia, and begins recognizing the complexity of friendships. She also begins recognizing how hard her mother works to keep things together in their household, although it’s much more difficult for her to extend grace to her mother.