Numbers by Rachel Ward

Title:  Numbers 
Author:  Rachel Ward
Pages: 352
Genre: YA / Teen
Source: Library

Jem has a secret no one knows. A secret she knows must not be shared. See, if Jem stares into a persons eye she sees a set of numbers. These numbers are the date of the person's death... an expiration date, if you must. She's had a rough life. And at 15, she's orphaned, never knowing her daddy and her mum having overdosed when she was still a child, she's been bounced around from foster home to foster home and although now she is stable living in yet another foster home, she lives behind a hard shell that allows her to not get too close to anyone.

Until she meets Spider. Spider an outcast just like her, but also so different. Spider is full of life, he's bursting at the seams with energy and for some reason he keeps finding ways to follow and hang around Jem. She eventually relents and they form a distant and grudging sort of friendship. One day while in line at London Eye, Jem begins to see that everyone around her has the same numbers and quickly makes up her mind that something terrible is bound to happen. She grabs Spider and makes a run for it. When a devastating act kills those at the "Eye" that day, they both become the main suspects and end up on the run.

What a very interesting premise. Imagine to know the date of everyone's death. That concept alone was very thought-provoking for me. I really found Ms. Ward to have created a very credible character in Jem. The way that her unique ability basically forces her to act, always wearing hoody's, with her hair in her face, never really wanting to look into someone's eyes, not wanting to force bonds - familial or friendship, all these traits were very realistic to me. Her relationship with Spider (which is really the main focus in the book) and how said relationship changes Jem and her views was very enjoyable to read.

My only complaints would be that the whole "numbers" thing was not the main focus on the story - halfway through the story the numbers just dwindled. The story changed and it became more of a love story - I found that unexpected. I also really hate (and this is just something personal on my behalf) when there is a lot of description as to body odors... you know, bad breath, oily hair, BO in general. If an author mentions it once or twice I can overlook it, but if it's the main focus every time a new character is introduced I start getting turned off to it - this was really a factor with me in this book. 

All in all, this story really had a lot of potential. It was like a roller coaster ride for me - it was very fast-paced in the beginning then it slowed for a while towards the middle and then picked up speed again at end. It's not one that I loved, but I definitely enjoyed it. The last sentence in the story really surprised me so I most definitely will be picking up the sequel (The Chaos) upon its US release sometime in early 2011. 

One last thing I also want to mention, although it is advertised as a young adult book, I do recommend it more for older teens as there is drug use, theft, sex and death.

My Rating:


miss cindy :) said...

I liked this book and I am glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)

cynthial11 said...

I've read mixed reviews of this one, I'm kind of interested in reading it. Great review!

Steve Capell said...

This book really sounds interesting. Thanks for your honest review.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Great premise for a book. Too bad it kind of dwindled (as far as the number thing goes...). I love original story ideas and this certainly falls into that category.

Splendibird said...

Great review - I agree entirely about the Numbers thing kind of disappearing half way through. At times I also found the book relentlessly bleak. That last sentence is truly chilling though, and I will also be picking up The Chaos.

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