© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me


by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me Theme of Family

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.

Questions About Family

  1. What important values has Miranda learned from her mom?
  2. How does meeting Julia's family change the way Miranda views Julia?
  3. How does Miranda's family compare to the other families we see in the novel, such as Sal's, Julia's, and Annemarie's?
  4. Did all of the families in the book seem realistic? If so, what made them seem like real families?
  5. Why doesn't Miranda like her mother's tights?
  6. How are Miranda's mother and Meg's mother (from A Wrinkle in Time) different? How does Miranda feel about their differences?
  7. Who is Miranda's father?
  8. Why won't Miranda's mom give Richard a key to the apartment?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

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.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...