Pages: 197 pages
Finished: July 9, 2010
First Published: Jul. 14, 2009
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Genre: children, science fiction, Newbery Medal
So Mom got the postcard today.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy from my local library.
Reason for Reading: I'm working my way through reviewing all the Newbery winners.
Miranda has been best friends with Sal since they were in diapers, but one day Sal gets punched walking home from school and their friendship ends. Miranda starts running into the boy who punched him, Marcus, and they become acquaintances. Miranda loves the book A Wrinkle in Time and reads it over and over and over. Nobody can get her to try a different book and Marcus starts talking to her about the science behind the time-space travel component of the book. On Miranda's block there is a strange homeless man who talks about strange things, yells things out, talks to her, calls her "smart girl" and every now and then kicks his leg out into the street. He also sleeps with his head wedged under a mailbox. Oh, and Miranda also receives strange messages from an unknown person asking her to do things but most specifically to write the sender a letter. It isn't until the end of the book that all these elements come together and make perfect sense to Miranda.
An enjoyable book. The science fiction element is light and comes into play towards the end to explain all the strange events. The book also explores friendships as Miranda has relationships with a boy she's known from being a baby, a bully, a friendly neighbourhood woman, a crotchety old man, a girl who is made fun of at school, and a girl who has been dumped by the snooty popular girl, as well as the snooty girl herself. All of these people at some point Miranda befriends and she learns a lot about how appearances can be deceiving and to get to know the inside person before making judgments. Though sometimes a person's true self can a disappointment.
I thought the story was well-written, the characters likable and interesting. I read the book quickly and thought the ending was clever. The story never went past good, fine or ok with me though. From a Newbery winner I expect more.