Numbers by Rachel Ward


There are places where kids like me go.

This was one of those bookshop finds that appeared to have everything going for it, great cover, intriguing plot, and it was nominated for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2009.

Since her mother’s death (from a drugs overdose) when she was seven, 15 year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else’s, a number comes into her head – the date on which they will die.

Thrown from foster home to care home to foster home. Life has been hard for Jem, never being in one place for long, and knowing when people will die, makes Jem believes nothing can last forever, and so she avoids forging relationships. That is until she meets Spider, suddenly her world seems much brighter.

Until, on their first day-out together, Jem realises something terrible is about to happen, and when it does they run…

And their lives will never be the same again.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to it’s initial promise.

It is partly the world it is set in, disaffected kids, gangs, drugs etc, something just feels a little too forced about it. Whilst not enough is made of the the whole ‘numbers’ device for me, it is certainly present at the beginning and the end. but it is almost forgotten during the middle section and as anything could have been used to set Jem and Spiders chase off, It’s whole reason d’être seems to be mostly for the last line in the book.

Which is a shame, because the characters of Jem and Spider and are certainly likable, and their chase across the country is enjoyable both for the chase, and watching Jem open up as she and Spider getting to know each other better.

Still, it is an enjoyable enough read.

4 thoughts on “Numbers by Rachel Ward

  • Pingback: Numbers by Rachel Ward | There's A Book

  • March 18 at 10:27 am

    It did sound like a good story, pity that it didn’t live up to what it promised however. It sounds like the kind of thing my son might like to read. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  • February 14 at 2:57 pm

    I think the premise of the book sounds great too and I would have having that ability…what would I see when I looked at myself in the mirror? Might not be a book that I would rush right out to read but I do appreciate it you bringing it to my attention!!

    Staci´s last blog post: The School of Essential Ingredients- my thoughts

  • February 14 at 1:25 am

    Sounds like a fantastic premise, just thinking about it is chilling. Imagine how differently you would interact with people if you knew when they would die – it would completely change how you live your everyday life.

    Joanne´s last blog post: Review – Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

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