Publication Date/Version: February 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: The Chicken House
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
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. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!
Whenever Jem looks at another human being she sees a number, their death day. She knows when every single person around her is going to die. Because of this, she tries to keep a safe distance people. Then she meets Spider, another loner, and she chooses to become close to him. One day, while in London together waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem happens to notice that everyone's number is the same. Something terrible is going to happen, so the two flee. This only draws more suspicion to them, so Spider and Jem journey together, running form the police and creating a bond that will last forever.
Ever since I had first heard of Numbers, I was so intrigued by the plot idea. It was original and sounded exciting. Numbers was both of these things, but I found it to be a bit lacking.
I enjoyed the initial premise and all of the ethical questions that came along with it. Should Jem tell people their death dates or keep them secret? What if they're dying and want to know how much time they have left? Jem avoids people in order to avoid answering these questions. Spider, however, gets to her and starts a friendship, clearly wanting more. It was easy to feel for Jem and her complicated situation.
After the events at the Eye ferris wheel, things really started going. The plot picked up and was soon full of survival instincts and twists. I personally enjoy listening to peoples' accounts of survival immensely enjoyable. It's interesting to see what people do when they have nothing to lose. By the end of the novel, however, I was a bit bored and anxious. I appreciate dramatic tension, but I don't enjoy when it's drawn out for much too long.
The thing that irked me the most was Jem and Spider's relationship. I really wanted them to create an emotional bond that was strong. I didn't want them to have to resort to physical actions to prove their connection. After going through all that they did together, I wished they could have refrained from some certain actions and realized that the bond they had was unlike anything that could be created through physical relationships.
Overall: Interesting story that raises a lot of ethical questions. Irksome romantic relationship. A bit slow by the end.
My Advice: Borrow a copy. This isn't for everyone, but there are people who will enjoy this.
Cover: It makes a lot of sense when compared to the story line. I don't understand why the eye is red though. It creeps me out. I could have done with brown, blue, green...but red? Scary.