Particularly if you love Madeline L’Engle’s fantasy novels, you should treat yourself to When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. It has time travel, mystery, even a little teen romance. The main character, Miranda, loves L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and references to the classic book are sprinkled throughout the novel.
I fell in love with A Swiftly Tilting Planet the moment I laid eyes on it in elementary school. I sped through the other two books of the trilogy—in reverse order. And I loved everything about them—the awkward characters, the scientific data, the sense of doom and hope, the universal questions, and the personal problems. I wanted to be Meg . . . mostly so I could marry Calvin O’Keefe.
These books made me a staunch defender of the fantasy genre. The whole point of writing a book, I remember explaining to someone once, is that you can cause anything you want to happen. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it wonderful? Why restrict yourself to reality when you can have flying unicorns and alternate universes?
This is where I should probably talk about the biblical allusions and sophisticated theology that weave through L’Engle’s works. I should mention her own deep and authentic faith. And these are aspects of her work and her life I came to appreciate when I re-read her books as an adult.
But when I was a kid, it was all about the magic and the suspense . . . and that adorable red-head.
If you want to recapture a sense of the wonder L’Engle brought into your life, and if you have a free afternoon or evening, pick up When You Reach Me. And enjoy.