”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 death.
Burdened by such grim knowledge, Jem avoids relationships. Until she hooks up with Spider and decides to take a chance. But on a date to London, Jem foresees a chilling chain of events. The city’s a target. The clock’s running out. The countdown is to a blowup, and her world is about to explode!”
Numbers by Rachel Ward is a novel published in 2010 with quite an interesting storyline. The protagonist is a girl called Jem, who keeps to herself, trying to ignore the deathly numbers that she sees in people’s eyes. One day she meets a guy from her class called Spider, and without wanting to, Jem slowly develops a relationship with him.
These characters and this relationship is what I want to compliment the most of this novel. Jem is supposed to be this half rebellious loner who often stays away from school. But I don’t find Jem to be the typical fictional rebellious teenager, because they tend to want to be the baddest of bad. Jem is a reasonable girl who tries to avoid drugs and people with bad influence. I really like that about her.
The same thing about Spider. He is the novel’s male protagonist, but he also differs from the usual young adult male lead. He isn’t perfect – he isn’t this godly, unreal character that we often read about in the genre. He is too tall, too lanky. I have said this before in earlier reviews – I really love realistic novels, and these two main characters are very realistic and therefore very likeable. They are not over exaggerated; they are just acting like normal human beings. Human beings with a twist of the supernatural, of course!
Moving on to their relationship with each other and the way it develops, I felt like I could have read a whole book only about their meeting and their development – I didn’t even need the suspense, or the supernatural theme, just their friendship. Because of how realistic the characters are, they do not ‘fall in love at first sight’ or find each other perfect at all. It is such a natural relationship, and I enjoyed reading about it.
I also found the ending quite nice as it had an eerie twist. It was a little easy to guess the outcome of the story, so I was not too surprised, but it definitely did not ruin the story for me.
Numbers by Rachel Ward (English), 325 pages, Scholastic, Chicken House