Feb 16, 2010

Numbers by Rachel Ward

12152010. This is just one of a myriad of numbers that haunts 15 year old Jem. She has seen them since she was a child, but never put it together what those numbers meant until her mother died of an overdose and she watched the coroner put her death date down as the number she has seen her whole life in her mother's eyes. Since that time Jem has bounced from foster home to foster home, avoiding any kind of contact with anyone.

Until she met Spider. Just as his name suggests, this gangly and lanky guy is all arms and pure energy. She had seen him in class and around town, but a chance run-in gives them the opportunity to become better acquainted. Both of them have survived difficult upbringings, but their fortunes seem to stop there when both are suspended from school on related charges. As a result, these two find themselves with a day of togetherness. They decide to take a tour of London; lunch, minor shopping, and then a ride on the famous London Eye. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be because Jem sees that everyone is line to ride has the same number, today's date. She instinctively knows that something's going to go horribly wrong. In the nick of time, she manages to convince Spider to run with her and then they never stop running.

They leave London that night because the police are looking for them. They are wanted for questioning in the terrorist attack on the Eye. Their escape is ill-fated as well, although they do manage to find each other along the way. Where they end up is nothing like either of them expected.

This books was absolutely riveting! I honestly couldn't put it down. Jem and Spider both have this magnetism that just drew me in right away. Jem was a really well-defined character. Her history and her "gift" explain a lot about her without the author having to spend too much time explaining the workings of her. Spider on the other hand is kind of a mystery; I'm guessing that's part of his allure. He's not nearly as defined, and pardon me if I read too much into this, but I think that is really displayed in the fact that he is almost always a physical blur from how much he moves. As the reader, we don't really need to know all that much about him, just the basics.

The plotline was very interesting. I could actually see a lot of it happening in real-life to these types of kids. There is a lot of cynicism from kids who have been in the system and I could totally see the desire to run from the police because there's no way that they would believe the young trouble-makers. Also, the fact that they never really thought much further ahead than the next few hours is a classic indicator of runaways. These bouts of reality grounded the story when it started going astray with more far-fetched ideas. It wasn't like anything in the story was hard to believe, it was just kind of obvious what was going to happen in certain points because it was the only way the story could go.

Overall I must say that I really enjoyed this book and was very intrigued by Jem's "gift" which is never really explained. I think it's better that way, because then there's no way to be "wrong" about explaining it. If you liked Graceling for the adventure, romance, and small amount of magic, then this book would be a great next step. After reading this review, what book comes to your mind?

1 comment:

Girl on a Mission said...

Thanks for shedding some light on this one. It's in my tbr and I was skeptical about reading it since the cover kind of creeps me out a bit lol. Now I'm thinking of actually picking it up.