Author: Victoria Laurie
Released: January 13th 2015
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?
Maddie has been seeing numbers on people’s foreheads since she was a baby, but it wasn’t until her father died that she realized what they actually mean. The numbers she sees are people’s death dates and she is never mistaken. She has also never succeeded in changing someone’s date, even though she tried on several occasions. But being who she is, she can’t help trying again, only this time her attempt puts her in a world of trouble.
From the start, Maddie won me over with incredible ease. Forced by her alcoholic mother to abuse her gift and read people’s death dates for money, Maddie still found a way to be herself and help where she could. She made smart choices from the start, and even when she ended up right in the middle of a murder investigation, she did the best she could for everyone. I felt everything she felt in this book, the grief over her father’s death, the shame over her mother’s drinking, her love for her best friend and her desire to help.
When has a movie-like quality to it and every scene is shaped to achieve its full potential. The tension builds slowly but steadily, all the way to a heart-stopping finale. The mystery is well-done, clearly the work of an experienced author, and it kept me guessing throughout. When the killer was finally revealed, I was completely taken aback, but it made sense in retrospect, which I think is the holy grail of crime fiction.
I adored the romance aspect of this book mostly because there was no romance, not until the very end. With everything going on around Maddie, pushing her into a relationship of some sort would have been a bit ridiculous, and I’m so happy Laurie chose not to take that route. As it is, the small glimpse of romance ahead was tasteful, well-timed and simply delightful. It’s just one of the things that make this book stand out.
In short, Victoria Laurie did a fabulous job with what seems to be her YA debut. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for her next book, but even if we do, I have a feeling it will be worth the wait.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.