Thursday, February 25, 2010
Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Released: January 5, 2009
Paperback, 304 pages
"Instead of backing away or hitting back, he got his arms and legs around me, and kind of wrapped me up, and squeezed. My arms were held down by my side, my legs had no where to go. I was held in close, my face pressed into the smelly place under his arms, and he sort of sapped the fury out of me. I could feel it going, feel my body relaxing. His chin was resting on top of my head, and we stood there for a bit, just breathing.
'You all right now?' he said after a while." (pg 98)
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Jem has a unique ability - when she seems someone's face, she see's numbers. Their death date, to be exact. She's lived a rough life, no Dad & a drug addicted mom who accidentally dies of an overdose, leaving her an orphan. She's been around the block, no one seems to understand her, until she meets Spider, a school mate who slowly becomes more. A trip to London changes their lives forever as Jem see's today's date on multiple faces, causing her to think there is going to be a tragic accident and them to flee. She was right, but now news reports say police are looking for two witnesses who fled the scene just before the blast. Having no faith in the system and thinking they are going to take the blame, Jem and Spider decide it's best to run away and start fresh.
I loved the premise of this. I'm a huge numbers geek in real life, but sadly this story didn't focus on that aspect. The beauty in the story is not Jem's numbers ability (as I had hoped for), it is watching two people who feel they have nothing to lose, find each other. The character development in Jem is heartwarming. Even knowing Spiders death date, she is finally able to feel love for someone and sees good in the others around her. Spider, on the other hand, doesn't make it as far but you see some passion as he falls for Jem.
The storyline was unique and had me guessing how it would play out. The moral dilemma appears a number of times (if you know someone's death date, should you tell?) but really this story was about Jem & Spider just struggling to survive. I did have to giggle though as the book takes place in 2009 with an epilogue 5 yrs later. For 5 yrs it seems that we get a glimpse into the future - which makes me wonder why they didn't write this in 2004 with a 2009 epilogue?