Numbers by Rachel Ward

Numbers is about a girl named Jem that sees the date that someone is going to die.  When she was a little girl, Jem saw the number for her mother and then her mother died of an overdose.  From then on, she is sent through the system in London.  In order to protect herself, she withdrawals from society, until she runs into Spider while she is ditching school.  She can’t seem to shake him.  He follows her around,which is easily noticed based off of his smell, and he stands up for her in school.  This however ends up being a bad thing.  Jem begins to be noticed at school and she starts getting picked on.  So, Jem ditches school and goes to visit Spider while he is suspended.  The two of them head to the touristy London Eye where Jem notices something odd.  As she looks through the line, all of the people standing there have the same number.  Jem freaks out and pulls Spider away just in time.  A terrorist attacks the London Eye.  Jem and Spider are seen running away from the scene of the crime.  This leads the two of them to begin a life on the run.

Honestly, I was intrigued by the premise and the possibilities that could have happened with a girl who saw when someone was going to die.  For some reason when I read the back of the book I thought that the terrorist attack was going to be a larger focus than it was.  I was disappointed that the majority of the book was about her life on the streets more than anything to do with the numbers.  Honestly, the numbers are only a small part of the book and don’t lead the plot at all in my opinion.  The relationship between Spider (who is not your typical love interest) and Jem is the main focus of the book.  The interactions between the two of them is entertaining.  Reading how their relationship unfolds and gives Jem hope for things that she didn’t bother with before is the best part of the book.  I liked the book, I just thought that Ward could have done so much more with the premise that she devised.  Let’s see what the sequel brings.

On another note, this is definitely for older teens.  There is drug use, death, theft, sex, and teenage pregnancy in the book.
3/5 stars

  1. I thought the Numbers played a big part in terms of Jem and Spider’s relationship..knowing Spider’s # changed Jem as a person.

    I loved the ending…looking forward to the sequel! 🙂

    • See, I’m not sure if I buy that it was the number that changed Jem and Spider’s relationship. I think that the main part of this story could have taken place with any type of hardship that both of them went through. I agree with you about the ending. I didn’t want to spoil it at all, but I was commenting at the book at the end. For some reason I was compelled that Jem hear me.

  2. Aw,man – that is disappointing that the numbers aren’t more central! I was getting really excited when you started talking about everyone having the same number – that could have been so cool! She could have gone around averting crises or something! It still sounds like a fun read though, especially if the sequel turns out to be more focused on the numbers. I can’t wait for your review of it! Thanks for this great and informative review!

    • You know, when I read the premise, I was thinking the exact same way as you. I was like “she notices that everyone around has the same number and London has a terrorist attack, so she can save the world”, but it was so not like that. To be honest, I really liked the ending. I was reading the end while I was on twitter and I kept going “wow, no, ack…” I just didn’t want to give that part away.

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