Our protagonist Miranda loves books – well, not books so much as one book: Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Miranda always carries around a copy of the book and is constantly comparing the people and situations in her life to characters and episodes from the book. While time travel is a central theme in both books, Miranda is very different from Meg Murry, the main character in A Wrinkle in Time. Miranda is a latchkey kid living in New York City with her single mom and no dad in sight. Miranda must learn to let go – just a little bit – of the book she loves so much and see that she is her own character with her own story.
Note: When a book references other books it's called "intertextuality" (see our section on "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory: A Wrinkle in Time"). That's when a book talks to – and about – other books. Other books are referenced in When You Reach Me as well, such as Harriet the Spy. (23.24)
Just as Miranda needs to expand her friendships beyond just Sal, Miranda needs to expand her reading beyond just A Wrinkle in Time.
The pairing of A Wrinkle in Time and When You Reach Me works well because both books are about time travel and love/compassion.