Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Jem Marsh could see the numbers as long as she could remember. Every time she looks into a person’s eyes, she sees a number. Her mother’s number was 10102001. I wasn’t until October 10, 2001 that she knew what the numbers meant: it is the day that person will die. Her mother died that day of a drug overdose. As a result of this ability, she avoids people as much as possible. It really puts a damper on a relationship if you know exactly when their time is up. Although she tries to drive people away, Spider, a very tall fellow misfit, just won’t stay away. Even though his date is just a few short months away, she can’t help but be his friend. One day, when they are hanging out at the London Eye, Jem notices that everyone’s number around them are on the same day. She freaks out and drags Spider from the scene. A few minutes later, there is an explosion. Suddenly Jem and Spider are being chased by police and under suspicion for the crime. How long can they stay on the run? Can they avoid the police forever?

The concept for this book is a very interesting one. Imagine what it would be like if you knew when everyone who have ever known will die. I really feel for Jem and I understand why she acts the way she does. I don’t think anyone could act in a completely normal way if that knowledge weighed on them every day. I admire Jem for being strong and dealing with her “gift” as well as she is. The narrative is from Jem’s point of view, complete with bad grammar and in the way she would talk. This aspect grounded the book in realism even though the focus was something fantastical. I like Jem very much and was emotionally infested in her and Spider. I thought Spider would be harder to like because of his strange demeanor and his dealings with dubious people. He just made some bad decisions and I was afraid he was going to take Jem down with him. By the time Jem had fallen in love with him, I was sold on him too.

About the first half of the book had me on the edge of my seat and rooting for this misfit couple. It was exciting to read and kept me interested. The problem for me comes well into the novel. At a certain point, it seems as if the plot just stops and becomes pointless. I accepted that they were scared teens and ran away from a situation that they essentially were just witnessed. The situation served a purpose in deepening Spider and Jem’s relationship and progressing it to a romantic stage. The latter part of the novel just fell flat for me. There seemed to be no real reason for the events to happen and it made me stop suspending my disbelief.

As a whole, I enjoyed the novel. The characters were compelling and the writing style sucked me into the story. The last quarter of the book wasn’t the best and was obviously left open for a sequel. I will give Rachel Ward another chance and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins


Sullivan McPig said...

Ok.... this part worries me:
"The narrative is from Jem’s point of view, complete with bad grammar and in the way she would talk."

Otherwise it sounds like a story I might try.

Misty said...

God, this sounds so interesting. And the cover is insane. I am only mildly worried about the Jem-talk. If it's done well...