Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: Num8ers by Rachel Ward

Title: Num8ers
Author: Rachel Ward
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic
Hardcover, 325 pages
Date Published: February 1, 2010
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Whenever Jem 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 an awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But while they’re waiting to ride the Eye Ferris wheel, Jem notices 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!
I have a slight love affair with British stories, so I was prepared to love Num8ers from the get-go. It’s nice that the story is worthy of my love as well. There are some really good “I know when you’ll die” books out there, but this is the first one that I’ve read that tackles death and fate so deftly. Jem’s ‘gift’ of seeing the date of a person’s death in their eyes is not only interesting, but so well developed. We never know how it came about or why, but we get to know Jem and how her emotions tie in with this talent.

Rachel Ward’s London is gritty and raw. Jem is a mere 15 years of age, but she’s seen far worse things than most people and it has toughened her up. She can rumble with the best of them, but she’s still only a girl. She’s scared and insecure and even petulant at times. Her somewhat negative attitude is brightened by the vibrant and normally carefree, Spider. Together, these two characters make quite the duo. They complement each other so well, too. Where one of them is weak, the other steps in to make up for it.

The relationship between Jem and Spider is the backbone to the story, but everything always comes back to the numbers. Fate and destiny play a huge role in the book because throughout all their travels, Jem is burdened with the knowledge that Spider is going to die. She’s seen his number and there’s no changing that. Or is there? That’s the question that drives Jem’s development and her actions. As human beings, is our fate set in stone? Are we destined to die on a specific date with no way to stop it? Or do we dictate how long our lives last? And the most important question, if you knew when someone was going to die, what would you do to change it?

Num8ers is a fast-paced story, driven by a girl and her attempts to outrun the numbers of ‘fate.’ Jem and Spider’s growth through the story and their ups and down help to make the book that much more appealing. They truly are a duo for the ages and while their tender moments are needed, readers will not be disappointed by the slam-bang action that takes place in between. Num8ers is far more than just a book about a girl who can see death and I hope others give it a chance. Plus, when I read it, I could hear that British accent in my mind and I loved it!

Opening lines:
There are places where kids like me go. Sad kids, bad kids, bored kids, and lonely kids, kids that are different. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: And then, a strangely comforting thought trickled through me – I had nothing, so I could do anything now. Anything I wanted. I had nothing left to lose. ~ pg. 58
4.5 - I'll be reading book #2 soon
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Rachel Ward online:

Buy it online:

4 comments:

Marce said...

Great review, the majority I have seen were not positive at all, glad you liked it.

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

I enjoyed this one too, but it was dark and I can't wait to know what happens next.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

~The Book Pixie said...

I've heard some fairly mixed reviews on this one so I'm really glad to see how much you liked it since I have a copy I need to read. Thanks for the review! :D

~Briana

Bere said...

Awesome review, Nikki! I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed this one. I did too. I actually don't remember reading a lot about this one when it first came out and I'm sure it deserves so much more attention. Again, fantastic review, Nikki! Thank you =].

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