Known best for her 2010 Newbery Medal-winning children's novel, When You Reach Me. She also received the 2013 Guardian Prize for her young adult novel Liar & Spy.
After graduating from Vassar College in 1989, she attended law school and went on to work as a public defender. She published her debut children's work, First Light, in 2007.
Reviews of When You Reach Me that highly praised Stead's writing style appeared in both the New York Times and Publishers Weekly.
She has two sons with lawyer and husband Sean O'Brien.
She filled her acclaimed novel When You Reach Me with references to Madeleine L'Engle's classic children's science fiction novel, A Wrinkle In Time.