When You Reach Me (Stead) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for When You Reach Me:

1. Consider how Madeleine L'Engle's book, A Wrinkle in Time, sets the stage for When You Reach Me—especially Marcus's comment to Miranda that "those ladies lied in the beginning." How does Marcus's concern about time prefigure the events of this book? Can you explain, in your own words, Marcus's observations about leaving and returning to the garden in A Wrinkle?

2. Can you also explain—can you even grasp—Marcus's comment that time "isn’t a line stretching out in front of us, going in one direction. It’s—well, time is just a construct, actually." What does he mean by "construct"? Consider his concept that time occurs simultaneously. How does that work?

3. When did you realize that is Miranda, as she narrates this story, isn't talking to us, the readers? Were you able to figure out whom she was addressing before the end?

4. Talk about the way in which the author makes New York City feel like a neighborhood in a small town. How are/were Miranda's day-to-day experiences living in the city different from your own...leaving school for lunch, for instance?

5. Were you confused by the way the book skips back and forth between past tense and present tense? Do the different time frames ultimately make sense?

6. How are the chapter titles related to the $20,000 Pyramid game show...and how do those titles fit into the plot?

7. Talk about how friendships form and fall apart in this book— Sal who stops speaking to Miranda, Annemarie, Colin and Julia. How does the author interject racism into the story and how does it affect the friendships?

8. Talk about they way in which all the clues come together like a puzzle at the end. Does it all make sense?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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