As Shakespeare once wrote, the course of true friendship never did run smooth. (OK, that's not really what Shakespeare said, but we're taking artistic license). When You Reach Me focuses on the course of one such friendship: "Miranda and Sal, Sal and Miranda" (5.9). The two have been best buds since Miranda moved into Sal's apartment building as a wee one in a car seat. Upon entering the sixth grade, though, Sal has grown distant and is stubbornly ignoring Miranda. Why?
The rift between Sal and Miranda is one of the great mysteries of the novel – and of growing up. We see echoes of broken friendship with other characters – Annemarie and Julia, for example, who are also experiencing the growing pains that intense friendships often do. The book, then, asks us to think about how friendships change who we are and why they are important. Must friendships change over time? What does it mean for a friendship to get older and mature? When You Reach Me may not have all the answers, but it definitely captures the pains and pleasures of being and having a friend.
Miranda has a lot to learn from Julia about how to be a good friend.
Sal isn't a good friend to Miranda because he abandons her.
Sal is a good friend to Miranda because he helps push her to become friends with more people.