Rebecca Stead Books

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Author Rebecca Stead grew up in New York City, and was able to read in her school without anyone interrupting her. Everywhere she read, she was able to fall in love with books and more specifically, fiction. It was here that she started thinking about writing, but did not write a whole lot of things. It was just jokes that she heard or parts of conversation.

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Order of Rebecca Stead Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 First Light 2007 Description / Buy
2 When You Reach Me 2009 Description / Buy
3 Liar & Spy 2012 Description / Buy
4 Goodbye Stranger 2015 Description / Buy
5 Bob ( With: Wendy Mass) 2018 Description / Buy
6 The List of Things That Will Not Change 2020 Description / Buy
7 The Lost Library ( With: Wendy Mass) 2023 Description / Buy

Order of Rebecca Stead Short Stories/Novellas

# Read Title Published Details
1 Guys Read: A Day In the Life (Short Story) ( With: Shaun Tan) 2013 Description / Buy
2 Guys Read: Plan B 2013 Description / Buy

Rebecca Stead Anthologies

# Read Title Published Details
1 Who Done It? 2013 Description / Buy
2 Other Worlds 2013 Description / Buy
3 Guys Read: Other Worlds 2013 Description / Buy
Print: Print PDF

Stead felt that becoming a writer was not a practical thing, so became a lawyer (working as a public defender) after graduating from Vassar College with a bachelor’s degree in 1989 and got married to an attorney named Sean O’Brien. When she found the time, she would write stories for adults. After her two kids were born, she had no real time to write stories, but she tired anyway. After one of her kids pushed her laptop off the table, her stories were gone, and she had to start over. This only pushed her to get back into the novels she loved as a child, buying a lot of them. Reading got her back into writing again. She believes that there are no rules to writing. As a child, her favorite novel is “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle, a novel that is vital to “When You Reach Me”. Stead also met L’Engle when she was a child.

Rebecca Stead has written stand alone novels that have received critical acclaim and have reached bestseller lists.


Her novel “Liar and Spy” won the Guardian Prize for being the year’s best British children’s novel by a writer who had not won it before. Stead has also won the Newbery Medal for her novel “When You Reach Me”.


For those looking to get into Rebecca Stead’s work, this next section will help with that. It will look at the novels: “First Light” and“When You Reach Me”.

First Light: This is Rebecca Stead’s debut novel and was released in 2007. It took Stead five years to write (starting the novel in 2002), as she had to get everything just right. At first, the novel was confusing, and Stead and to keep on strengthening things to focus only on main plot points.

The novel is about a boy named Peter who lives with his mother and father in New York, and Thea who lives in Greenland and is part of an underground colony called Gracehope. Peter is in Greenland for his father’s research. Gracehope was built centuries ago by Settlers, a group of people that used to live in England. They had extremely good vision and hearing and were known as eye and ear adepts. They were brought underground by their leader Grace so that they could live in peace because their powers were seen to be sorcery. Thea goes to the surface with her cousin using a map that she finds and meets Peter. He is able to get her back down to Gracehope and he finds that they have talismans that look like mitochondrial DNA (something that his mom is studying). He finds his mom, after he awakes, and she says that she used to live there in Gracehope but was expelled.

When You Reach Me: This is Rebecca Stead’s second novel and was released in 2009. Stead got the idea for the novel after she read an article in a newspaper that gave her the idea to write a novel where someone travels in time to save someone’s life. It involved a man who had amnesia and did not know why he was there; people helped the man regain his memory. She wondered, through reading the article if the man traveled back in time and lost his memory along the way.

The novel follows a sixth grader named Miranda Sinclair and the novel is set in the years 1978 and 1979. Miranda lives with her mother and Richard (her mother’s boyfriend who has a kind heart). She receives a note one day, after her friend Sal stops talking to her after he gets punched by the new kid at school and her spare key that her mother has for emergencies gets stolen. She gets some notes that are odd and she knows that whoever is sending them to her knows some things that they should not be able to know. Each note makes her think that she can save the life of someone. The last one though, makes her think that she is too late.

When Does The Next Rebecca Stead book come out?

Rebecca Stead doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Lost Library and was released on August, 29th 2023.

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