February 1st 2010, Chicken House/Scholastic Inc.
325 pages, Paperback
Bought from Amazon
First in the Numbers Series
Ever since the day her mother died, Jem has known about the numbers. Numbers that pop into her head when she looks into someone's eyes. They're dates, the numbers. Dates predicting with brute accuracy each person's death. Burdened by such horrible knowledge, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. Maybe they can find happiness together, if only in the brief time that remains before his expiration date. But on a trip to London, Jem foresees a chilling chain of events: The city's a target. The clock's running out. The countdown is on to a blowup!
From the very first page this was an incredibly dark read that isn’t for the faint of heart. It was literally painful for me to read. I attempted to put it down several times because it was just too real, but I couldn’t. I had to know if Jem would find her happy ending.'
A drug addicted mother dies leaving her seven year old daughter alone with the knowledge that she sees when people are going to die. While in yet another foster care home Jem is cutting out of school and Spider a black boy that reeks attempts to talk to her, but when she sees his number is coming close she tries to leave. When he insists on continuing to talk to her it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship that turns to love.
Jem is a very complex character and Ward’s characterization is mostly why this book is so good. Left by everyone she has cared about Jem is a loner, and add the fact that she can see when everyone is going to die this throws her further into her own world.
Spider immediately grabbed my attention, as I had my own Spider in middle school. A violent boy that will protect you from all outside forces. He has his own issues, believing drug dealing and stealing is the way out of the slums, but he is also a partner that Jem needs to face the world.
This book will tear your hear apart and leave it that way. Characterization is very strong, the actions that Jem and Spider take aren’t always the smartest, but it fits within their characters.
One final note. Many say that it’s a cliffhanger. I don’t feel that way. I don’t even feel compelled to read the next one. The ending fit the book.