When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
Richard is Mom's sweet and supportive lawyer boyfriend who is blond and smart and good at tying sailing knots. Miranda's mom calls him "Mr. Perfect because of how he looks and how he knows everything," but every time her mother says this, "Richard taps his right knee. He does that because his right leg is shorter than his left one" (2.6). Still, we think he's pretty close to perfect for Miranda and her mom.
Richard is the closest thing in the novel to a father figure for Miranda. He acts as a guide and mentor when he buys her a set of ropes for Christmas and teaches her to tie knots (Chapter 6). Richard does indeed want to marry Miranda's mother. While he's obviously a great fit, Miranda's mother is hesitant to let him into their lives, as she tells us in Chapter 34, because she feels a responsibility to make the best decisions for Miranda.
Richard is accepted into the family at the end of the novel when Miranda gives him a copy of the apartment key – tied to a sailor's knot (52.19).