Author: Rachel Ward
Release Date: February 2010
Published By: Scholastic
Goodreads Rating: 3.41 stars
Review: Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she 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 awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But when everything goes wrong with no sign of getting better, does she have a choice?
One of the best aspects of NUMBERS is immediately obvious just from reading the plot summary: the concept. I've read tons of books about characters with various paranormal powers, but the coolness factor of all those pales in comparison with the idea of someone who can see the date people will die. Not only is it just a novel idea, it also brings up many factors of complexity for the plot itself, such as how she deals with forming relationships.
However, I did find myself disappointed with the plot as a whole. Even though the concept was definitely fascinating, there were a lot of plot twists and turns that just didn't make sense to me. They were either kind of confusing or didn't really fit in well with the story at large, and sometimes they came across as rather unbelievable. They just weren't realistic.
Probably one of the largest let-downs for me was the romance. I just couldn't get into the romance between Spider and Jem, especially because it was almost like the narrator went out of her way to make him unappealing (such as frequently referring to his "rank smell"). I'm all for realistic romances where the characters aren't exactly supermodels, but this one just came across as awkward.
All in all, NUMBERS was a book with a great deal of potential and a fantastic concept that ultimately disappointed me. Perhaps my expectations were just too high, but I found many parts of the plot to be unbelievable or to simply make no sense, and I found myself unable to get into the romance at all. Perhaps I will be able to enjoy the author's future books more, however, because the writing certainly wasn't bad.