When by Victoria Laurie is her twenty-something book, which is a really impressive count, but at the same time, when I found out about it after reading this book, it told me that, if I didn’t know her name before this book, the first twenty-five were not excellent enough so whole world would hear about them. When was first published this year in January since which it has been on my reading list and there’s no sequel planned to turn it into series.
It is a story about girl named Maddie (it seems that main characters nowadays are obsessed with their names shortened, ‘cause full name=yuck!) who sees numbers on people’s foreheads (opposed to the picture on the book, where numbers hovering over the person’s head). After years of living with these numbers, she finds out that numbers actually show date when the person will die. She has always seen them, but sometimes, when she sees one that will die next week, she cannot stay silent – Maddie wants to help, to try and save the person and that’s where the trouble comes in.
This book took a lot of nerves from me. I am very nervous and always easy to frighten, so the tension of not knowing who is responsible for the bad things happening in the town, was really electrifying. After first few chapters, I suspected everyone – starting from all the bad guys to all the lovely grandmas and I had absolutely no idea, who’s fault is all this mess.
Unfortunately I didn’t know who’s fault was it, because the book hadn’t showed the person yet in it’s true nature, the first moment (s)he got into the picture, I knew how this all will end. I’m no Sherlock, but I thought that it was too classical and expected more from the book which managed to get such anticipation out of me. The novel had such a potential and then the last third of the book was just wasted on the solution I had already calculated.
I think that the first part of the book was really well written, it kept guessing and I would say that although it kept me so jittery, I loved it. Until the moment I unraveled the mystery and was completely sure of the result of the book, then it all went downhill for me.
Maddie was frustrating and pissed me off a lot and meanwhile Donnie was the good guy, who was just perfect and did everything right. But none of them are my favourite. I actually have to think, if I have favourite character in this book at all…
I suppose that Stubby might get the award, as he was the best character in the book and the one that I liked the most. He was kind-hearted and proved that, he kept to his optimistic character and when changes in his life came, he got emotionally wrecked and acted as, I think, any person with suck kind nature would. I think that Victoria Laurie did a good job on Stubby, the recovery was a bit fast and unexpected, but it was still fine, comparing to Ma, who was fixed up and ready to move on in no time. It is just incredibly unbelievable that a character like Ma from one edge would move onto the other in short time like few months. I do not buy it. Many bad things happen to people as well as many good, but nothing that happened in Ma’s life seemed to me logical.
I was also a bit sad that it didn’t turn out that Aiden has some special super power and they are actually made for each other to work together and save the world. I would have liked that. I really did not understand why was he in the book at all, she saw him once a year and had a crush… big deal.
Nevertheless, I appreciate the start of the book and was really happy that I at last got to this novel, I liked the beginning so much that I even ignored facts like parents searching their children when they’ve been missing only for half an hour or FBI getting straight into the case, without even knowing, if it is a lost kid, a murder, abduction or something else. It just all seems so weird, not to speak of the fact that some characters get chased during the book and never mention that to anyone who could actually help dealing with it (because the chased just forget to mention the chaser). You have to be fucking kidding me! If I would get chased, I would never ever go out alone again, especially after dark and would never forget to tell about it!
Those are just few things that I chose to ignore, but by the end they started to nag me as the story did not live up to my expectations.
The beginning of the book was scary and for neurotic people like me, it would be very jumpy, but enjoyable at the same time. I think that this is a young adult novel because of the teenage setting, but the actual action makes me say that this might be an adult novel as well. Also I think that it could be a fine book for teenage and young adult boys as well, even though it is told from girl’s perspective, I think that this number thing might be enjoyable, especially, if one has to read a mandatory book for a literature class.
This book received two stars from me on my goodreads page because of the mistakes and plot holes I mentioned above, but I have rated it higher than some three star books on my Booklist hence it kept me so vigilant at the first part of the book and made me feel like it deserves the place it got.
Have you read When? I can’t believe that a novel with such interesting idea about numbers is really so little known! Let me know about your guesses while reading the book!