When You Reach Me tells the story of a small, modern family. Miranda's mom is a working single mother, never married, and Miranda is her independent latchkey daughter. The relationship between Miranda and her mother is one of the most complicated dynamics in the book – and feels the most true to life, in our opinion. Miranda is both annoyed by her mother, yet also learns from her the values of empathy and compassion. Like any good mother/daughter duo, they also bicker quite a bit. Sometimes it even seems as though Miranda is the mother and not the daughter. In this way the book does justice to the complexities of families who don't fit into the nuclear mold of Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister, and Fido.
Miranda's mom is a good mother because she's taught Miranda strong values.
In When You Reach Me, there is no such thing as a "normal" family, like the one we see in A Wrinkle in Time – every family has it's problems.