Paperback, 285 pages
Published November 8th 2008 by The Chicken House
190529493X (ISBN13: 9781905294930)
London, England, 2010 (United Kingdom)
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2010), Prijs van de Jonge Jury Nominee (2011), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011)
Since her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else’s, a number pops into her head - the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn. Waiting for the London Eye, she sees everyone in the queue has the same number - something terrible is going to happen
The idea of knowing someones date of death is a very scary thing indeed, but knowing when everyone would die and not knowing how to tell them or if you even should, would make life a living hell. Its a wonder how Jem copes with it, and its no wonder why she is so mixed up and confused. Jem is a girl who has already been so much and has had to deal with enough, but still life is throwing challenges at her and you get to join in with her little adventures in this novel. Its a novel of difference, somewhat complex but mostly simple as long as your willing to have an open mind. I admit it was not what I was expecting when I started to read it, hte title, I assumed was a clue but I figured it was something geek and nerd natured if that makes sense.But the idea and concept of the book was actually so very well done and really seemed to be a rather interesting concept because of the fact it had not been done before or if it has Ive yet to read it. The characters seem to have very different personalities and yet you can see that there are similarities between the both of them. The mixed up teenagers, the ones who have had a difficult upbringing where peace was not at home. In someways this does show the typical discrimination and stereotypical labels, but at the same time it just seemed to make it more believable, after all I have come from a family that was, to an extent, peaceful as I was growing up. It wasn't until my teens that things started to fall apart and yes some complications and troubles did then crop up, so I suppose, by sticking to the stereotypes and discriminations, the book was actually given a much more realistic feeling to it, something that meant you would carry on reading it.
Jem, I thought at first, was a guy. The author just seems to give her this tough guy sort of feel, so you can imagine my shock when I read it was girl. It was hard to actually imagine a girl needing to be that tough and secure in life, but also meant that I was really reading into the novel more to see where this whol idea was going. I liked the way that we were able to see into her thoughts a little more, but I was also disappointed that there wasnt a whole lot of fixtation on the numbers things. The idea of a terroist attack, was a little cliche if I must say, but it seemed to add the emphasis that a story needs sometimes. Spider, an interesting name for a character and it actually left me wanting to know how he had even got this name in the first place. surely there is a story behind being given this nickname and if so what is it? or did that get told and I missed it somehow? I think the characters were developed well enough to be able to travel with them throughout the pages but at the same time there was something lacking in their description and personalities in that it just didnt come across as totally believable in every context and manner.
I wasn't sure why they felt that they needed to go on the run and the whole deal with Spider being a sales person for someone dodgy seemed likea little extra bit of a story butted into the pages merely for the sake of making sure that the pages were as full as they needed to be. The story was by no means perfect and I am kind of hoping that the second one will be a little better. It was interesting and different, I will certainly give it that, but it was not say, the number one book of the year, the book that I would brag about to everyone I know. It wasnt the be all and end all of the book world. This is partly why I am giving the book a three star rating. The other reason is that although I enjoyed some contexts of the novel, I also got bored of others and ended up skimming through quite a lot of it, not really or totally interested in it all.