What is the conclusion to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead?My sister just read this book for summer reading and we are quzzing her about her book. I would like to see if her answer about the...

What is the conclusion to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead?

My sister just read this book for summer reading and we are quzzing her about her book. I would like to see if her answer about the conclousin of this book is right. Thank you.

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the conclusion of the book When You Reach Me, Marcus chases Sal with the intention of apologizing for hitting him, but Sal is afraid and runs away into the street without looking. A truck bears down on him, but the laughing man pushes him away in the nick of time, sacrificing his own life in the process. The police, having been told that Marcus had purposefully caused Sal to run into the street, come after him at school, but Miranda's mother, using her expertise as an employee of a law firm, skillfully navigates the system and clears the young boy's name.

Miranda's mother appears on The $20,000 Pyramid, and wins $10,000. On his birthday, Richard finally receives a key to the house, indicating that Miranda's mother is ready to commit to a permanent relationship with him. Richard and Miranda then give Miranda's mother applications to law school, expressing their desire that she use her winnings for her own further education.

After her mother's amazing victory, Miranda experiences a moment of clarity during which she realizes that the mysterious notes she had been receiving are from the laughing man. She sees that the laughing man is really Marcus, inexplicably come back from the future to save Sal's life. The laughing man has asked Miranda to write a letter recounting what has happened, and she knows now that she must give it to Marcus, so that he will not bear the burden of responsibility of having caused the laughing man's death, which is actually his own death, and so that he will have a hint of what is to come. Even though she knows that Marcus will not be lonely when he grows up because he will marry Julia, and that he will be ready when his time comes to die, she still thinks his end is sad. She does not tell Marcus everything she has figured out, however, because he is "a smart kid," and will understand.

Miranda and Sal are friends again, and their relationship is comfortable and natural, not forced. Both of them have a wider circle of friends, which is as it should be.

kabate6590 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The novel When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead loosely references the time travel concepts of the novel A Wrinkle in Time. These concepts greatly impact the end of When You Reach Me.

Marcus chases Sal in order to apologize to him, but Sal does not realize this and runs away from Marcus right into the street. The laughing man ends up kicking Sal out of the way of a truck, thereby getting killed himself.

The police come looking for Marcus because they are led to believe that he pushed Sal into the street. Because Miranda's mother works in a law office, her unmatched knowledge of the law is able to save Marcus from being arrested. 

Miranda's mother appears on The $20,000 Pyramid and wins $10,000. Miranda and Richard tell her that they want her to put her winnings towards a law degree.

Through the notes she had been receiving from the laughing man, Miranda recognizes that he was actually Marcus come from the future to save Sal. Miranda is tasked with writing a letter explaining all of the events in order to prepare Marcus for what is to come and to ease his guilt about killing the laughing man.

Sal and Miranda become friends again, and both of them have more friends than they did before.

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When You Reach Me

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