Wednesday, April 21, 2010
by Rachel Ward
young adult science fiction
New York : Chicken House, 2010
Jem has a unique gift, curse, talent. Whatever you want to call it, it makes her life miserable, causing her to isolate herself from everyone else. You see, if Jem looks in a person's eyes, she sees a number. It is the date that person will die. Despite her best intentions she gets involved with a fellow misfit named Spider. Jem is especially reluctant to grow close to him as his number is only three weeks away. The duo are hanging out in downtown London when she notices that everyone around her is showing the same number, that very date. She freaks out and the two of them flee what moments later is the scene of a terrorist attack. They are now wanted for questioning by the police which sends them trekking cross-country to freedom. The whole time Jem is racked with guilt because she knows Spider doesn't have much time, but she can't very well tell him that. She grapples with tough questions like does she cause these dates to be true, or is there any way she can alter events so the number changes?
An interesting plot with intriguing characters. However, I was quite bothered by the language throughout. I find it hard to believe that normal teenagers in their everyday lives can't say a sentence that doesn't involve the F-word. If the language had been toned down a lot, I would have said this is a great read.