Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review: "NUM8ERS" by Rachel Ward

("NUMBERS" in case you didn't get that one!)

Since the day her mother died, Jem has known about the numbers.

Numbers that pop into her head when she looks into someone's eyes.  They're dates, the numbers.  Dates predicting with brute accuracy each person's death.

Burdened by such grim knowledge, Jem avoids relationships.  Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance.  Maybe they can find happiness together, if only in the brief time that remains before his expiration date.

But on a trip to London, Jem forsees a chilling chain of events:

The city's a target.
The clock's running out.
The countdown is on to a blowup!

MY REVIEW: we go!  Not many books lately have been getting enough of my attention to finish them through :o(   It's been somewhat depressing because I've wanted this "big" comeback on out site, and I've been waiting like a major league ballplayer waits for those first few perfect pitches to come out of his slump and triumph on top breaking some sort of record (without the use of HGH of course!)  Well, this book for me was like that "first perfect pitch."  The one that was a 100 mph fastball, but looked like a lob.  The one I knocked out of the park on my way to great things!  Ok, so yeah... I really liked this book.  I had ordered it from Scholastic (and yes, for those silly new rules put down on us book bloggers...."this book was provided to me by Scholastic Inc. for review.  There is no monetary compensation involved, just a review copy of the book for my honest opinion...HAPPY????   <------ such a waste of time) Back to the book.... awesome!  I couldn't stop reading it and started it yesterday night before bed and went way into the early morning hours until the end.  The end...ah, one of the most surprising endings I have read in any book.  Not that it was "life changing" or anything (well, for Jem it was) but it was just a bunch of surprises in a row that kept hitting me like 1-2 punches from Mike Tyson (while in his prime, of course).  Here's what the deal is......

If you haven't guess it yet, Jem sees people's date of death when she gets a good square look straight into their eyes.  It is something that has bothered her for her whole life and has been the cause of her miserable life, for the most part.  She knew her mom's and was there when mom died of an overdose, which was a horrible way for a young girl to see her mom go.  Well, set in England, they call them "Mums" which was weird to get used to, but throughout the book, there were terms that I had to get used to as well, like "dossers" which I think means street kids.... Anyway, Jem is moved around to many foster homes and many schools, but they usually don't work out.

She ends up with a foster mum, Karen who really cares for her.  She tries to give Jem as much as she can, considering she has a whole lot of other kids she took in as well.  Jem is an outcast at school, when she actually attends.  She mostly spends all of her time alone, wandering around, passing the days by.  Until she meets Spider.  In the book the point of him being like a 6'4, skinny, black kid is made many times BECAUSE eventually they are on the run, and with his description, he is not hard to miss.  back to the story... Jem befriends Spider, almost not by choice, as he is all up on her grill no matter how much she tries to get rid of him.  The reason she doesn't want to get to know him, is she has clocked his #.  And it's soon, real soon!

Well, here's the deal, and this is not spoiling anything as it is a major point of the story that you will know and it will set the plot for most of the book.  Jem and Spider are at a place called the "EYE" in London one day while playing hookie.  Jem starts to clock everyone around them and sees that their date of death was all the same, that day!  She puts one and one together that something is going to happen and makes her and Spider high tail it out of there.  Just as they are seen running away, and have made it to the other side of the river, the "EYE" blows up and everyone there dies!  Now, even though the book clearly states it was terrorists who done it, when you see a couple of people (especially a 6'4, skinny, black kid who stands out in any crowd running away from it right before it happens, it's natural to make them lead suspects, isn't it???  I would assume (since she never told anyone....yet) people do not know that her "gift" led her to get the heck out of there asap!

(here's the quick deal on the majority of the book without really getting into it) So...a good portion  of the book is spent trailing Jem and Spider while "on the run" even though they really didn't do anything.  The book focuses on a relationship built between the 2 of them (even though Jem insists for  good while she has NO interest in Spider) and deals with the lives of children (each 15 yrs old) who are less fortunate.  CHildren who are not part of the typical family with 2.4 kids, live in the suburbs, average job and celebrate Christmas huddled around the living room with hot chocolate and presents.  Basically, the poor ones.  The ones that dream of being part of a "normal" family and their struggles in life.

The book is pretty much straight forward, with a few surprise happenings throughout.  What was really cool, was that I thought those "random" happenings were going to lead in certain directions, and they never did.  Instead, i'd say the last 25 pages or so were by far the best of the entire book.  So much happened that the plot was leading into, but I never expected to happen.  As always, I will end with some questions.... What is obvious, and known throughout the book, is that Spider's "number" was clocked in the beginning of the book as a few weeks away form the current date.  That contributed to a lot of the emotions Jem had for him, especially since she never told anyone their number.  Does Spider actually die on his "date" and if so how????  Does Jem die?  Are they slated to take the heat for the terrorist bombing at the "EYE" or do people believe her story about seeing those dates??  I have to say, the way the author ends the book was amazing.  Simply amazing.  I had not expected it AT ALL!  Now that I look back (and hind sight is ALWAYS 20/20) I said that I should have figured all of the ending out as it was soooo crystal clear.  But I had no clue while reading it.  To me, that means that the author just did a great job.

Worth reading, and again, the book that I was looking for to get me back in the game.  Ever since the problems I had with my dad, I have been half hearted about everything, including this site.  I just didn't have the drive or motivation to get going again full force.  This book gave me the spark I needed.  It reminded me of why I do this site to begin with.  There are books out there that are so moving, I can't thin of anything else i'd rather be doing then reading them and sharing them with you guys!  So... "NUM8ERS" gets an A from me!  

SInce i'm now motivated again big time, here's what to look forward to in the near future, like today and tomorrow...and this is a promise:

Triple threat with Frank Beddor, author of "The Looking Glass Wars", which is all set up and ready to be posted.

Another review or 2 that I have been waiting to post.

An announcement of a Sami's first triple threat.

More fun stuff that is going on behind the scenes.

THANKS for having continue faith.  Now that i've been "gone" and out in space for a little while, I have to get the excitement going around here again.  I thank each and every one of you who has stuck around and hope that as we get moving again, you will help me create some buzz!

As always...  Thank you so much!



  1. Glad to see you back. I have Num8ers on my wishlist - can't wait to get my hands on it!

  2. Glad you're back, Dave, with new-found motivation! Hope your dad continues to improve. Anyway, your review of this book was so enthusiastic that I really want to read it now, so thanks for the tip!

  3. Wow, that sounds like an awesome book! Just what I want to read. I'm reserving it right now.

    Oh yeah, and it's nice to have you back. I wondered where you guys had gone off to. ^_^ Hope to hear more reviews from you and your family.

  4. i think i might have to get this one,I know about being disappointed while reading a book,its all the hype.Since you really seem to know that feeling,this one does sound reslly Good..Start to finish..Thanks..Not sure if you are on twitter,but will see and retweeet for sure..Vtc

  5. I will have to see if I can get this one at the library!

  6. Oh - grabbed your button too so I can come back later and see what else might be interesting to read.

  7. Great review Dave! I'm excited to hear you found a book that you really loved. I've been looking forward to reading this one for a while, so I can't wait to read it.