I am not sure how to begin to write this review, this is a complicated, fun, deep and at sometimes depressing children's book. It is also, at the heart - a mystery. So there is only so much I can tell without giving away the story. It is also one of the best children's books that I have read and I can't wait to share it with my daughter when she is a bit older.
So - here is a very high-level overview. Set in the 70s, Miranda is a 12-year-old girl that is obsessed with Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time" (another favorite of mine). She is the daughter of a single mom who is destined to be on the $25,000 Pyramid. One day her best friend, Sal gets punched in the stomach out of the blue and her whole world changes.
The storytelling in this book is quite well done. Stead kind of does of show and tell in the story. She slips in that Miranda was named after the "Miranda's Rights", she casually mentions that she does not eat grapes because her mother does no approve of how migrant workers are treated, the fact that there is a fully operational dentist office in the school that Miranda attends is casually mentioned. It is those little pieces of information that keep the reader intrigued and that make the book hard to put down. As a matter of fact - this would be a great book to re-read, because as the end came, I could see how the puzzle comes to shape. I saw that things that were casually mentioned actually meant quite a bit to the story.
I suggest reading this book! It is phenomenal and then we can discuss it in depth.