Monday, September 21, 2009
Num8ers by Rachel Ward
This novel truly swept me off my feet in its originality. 15 year-old Jem can see a number on every person. It turns out that this number is the date of his/her death. After her own mother's death, Jem realized what the numbers she'd been seeing actually meant. When she meets a boy (Spider) at school who has a date a mere two weeks away, she becomes curious. However, as the two are standing in line at the London Eye, Jem sees that everyone around her has the same death date and she begins to get nervous. She and Spider run away from the scene right before tragedy strikes. They are then suspects in a crime and continue to run throughout the novel. The deftness of the plot structure here will keep kids riveted to the last page. I found the last 50 pages to be completely engrossing-and....there will be a sequel! I love how Ward threw that curve ball that I wasn't expecting at all. This novel is full of delightful "British-isms" that we have all come to know and love over the years. Jem's troubled life seems to get more complicated for the reader yet more satisfying for her as the novel progresses. I explained the premise of the novel and it was snatched up immediately which usually means there will be a "run" on this particular title come February 2010 when Chicken House (Scholastic) releases it. How sad is it now that I want the second one MUCH before the first is published!