Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2009:
"[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow ... cool.'"
Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2009:
"[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest."
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, July & August 2009:
"Closing revelations are startling and satisfying but quietly made, their reverberations giving plenty of impetus for the reader to go back to the beginning and catch what was missed."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2009:
"This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 22, 2009:
"It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises."
Review, People Magazine, July 13, 2009:
Review, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2009:
"Readers ... are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."
WINNER 2009 - Kid's Indie Next List "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
WINNER 2009 - New York Times Notable Book
WINNER 2009 - Kirkus Reviews Best Childrens Books
WINNER 2009 - Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year
WINNER 2009 - School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
WINNER 2009 - Booklist Children's Editors' Choice
WINNER 2009 - Horn Book Fanfare
WINNER 2009 - National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award
WINNER 2009 - Parents' Choice Gold Award
WINNER 2009 - Book Links Lasting Connection
WINNER 2010 - Newbery Medal Winner
WINNER 2010 - ALA Notable Children's Book
WINNER 2010 - ALA Best Books for Young Adults Top 10
WINNER 2010 - NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies
WINNER 2010 - Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
WINNER 2010 - NCTE Notable Children's Trade Books in the Language Arts
WINNER 2010 - IRA Children's Book Award for Older Readers
NOMINEE 2011 - Hawaii Nene Award
NOMINEE 2010 - Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Master List
WINNER - New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
WINNER - ALA Best Books for Young Adults
WINNER - Chicago Public Librarys Best of the Best books
NOMINEE - Amelia Bloomer List Recommended Title
NOMINEE - Maine Student Book Award
NOMINEE - Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award
WINNER - Texas Lone Star Reading List
NOMINEE - Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fischer Book Award
NOMINEE - Missouri Gateway Readers Award
NOMINEE - Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
NOMINEE - Virginia Young Readers Program Award
Rebecca Stead is the author of First Light. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two sons.