Author: Rachel Ward
Genre: YA Thriller
Series: Numbers (Book 1)
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0545142997 (Chicken House)
ISBN-13: 978-0545142991 (Chicken House)
Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today’s number. Today’s date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem’s world is about to explode!
Quick & Dirty: An adrenaline producing roller-coaster ride, with a suspenseful plot that keeps you turning pages.
Opening Sentence: There are places where kids like me go.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
There’s no doubt that Jem has had a hard life. Her mother died from a drug overdose when she was young and she’s been shuffled from one foster home to the next. Jem is also plagued by this unfathomable ability. She sees numbers. Her ability tells her the date that a person is going to die. For this reason, Jem has difficulty building relationships. She doesn’t want to get close to anyone. Knowing when they will die is simply too much of a burden for her to shoulder. Jem meets Spider, another troubled teenager, and has a hard time getting rid of him. Even knowing that Spider’s time is up in a few weeks, Jem befriends him. As events unfold, Jem and Spider find themselves on the run, embarking on a disastrous journey of epic proportions.
I absolutely love the way this book is written. Numbers easily demonstrates Ms. Ward’s extraordinary gift for storytelling. Ms. Ward succeeds in crafting intriguing characters, giving them a unique voice and passion. Ms. Ward gives great depth to her characters and delivers a chilling, and pulse-pounding story of heartache and danger.
Jem is quite an amazing character. Being able to “see” the numbers has taken a toll on her. She’s tormented by her inability to escape the impact her ability has on her life. Jem and Spider are very sympathetic characters. They aren’t always likable, but it’s hard not to care about them. The struggles of these two inner-city kids are visceral. Having to rely on their street-smarts and each other is a daunting task. I appreciate the fact that these characters don’t always make the right decisions, and never tried to be perfect. They simply live life in the moment.
For me, one of the most important things that I took away from the story was their personal growth. It’s easy to understand their outlook on life. As the reader, I felt emotionally invested in their journey. At times I was really sad, not depressed, but felt they genuinely had nothing going for them. Things always seemed so bleak for them, yet they found comfort in each other. The ending is not quite what I expected, but satisfying nonetheless.
A bit of warning for younger readers, this book contains sex, a lot of adult language, and drug use.
Overall, Ms. Ward has crafted a thrilling novel. The reader is easily pulled into the gritty and unforgiving London scene. The character development is strong, and the reader will be deeply invested on an emotional level with these characters. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel, The Chaos.
I was panicking, running as fast as I could. Branches along the bank whipped me as I ducked and dived my way through. I got level with him, screaming and running at the same time. He couldn’t hear me. I looked wildly around for something to reach him with. I pulled a long branch, trying to break it off, but I wasn’t strong enough. He was away from me again. The thought of him helpless, breathing in water, made my own breath nearly stop.
The Numbers Series:
2. The Chaos
You can visit Rachel around the web here: Website
FTC Advisory: Big Honcho Media provided me with a copy of Num8ers . No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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