I received this book for free from Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.When by Victoria Laurie
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 13, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller, YA
Source: Disney Book Group
Buy on Amazon
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.
Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.
Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?
If you think this is your usual paranormal book where a girl finds herself capable of doing some pretty cool shit and doesn’t know how to use it and consequently gets frustrated until she finds the Love Interest/s who help/s her channel her powers for good before they run off to the sunset to their happily ever after, STOP RIGHT THERE! I shit you not, When by Victoria Laurie is anything but… that. It gets rid of the overused PR formula and breathes into it new life. I’m telling you right now that this book will surprise you in the sickest way possible (and I mean that very positively).
Being able to know when someone will die is definitely not an easy burden. If I had this curse put upon me, I don’t think I would be able to accept it easily and would probably lock myself in my cabinet so I won’t see another person again. I was rather nervous to see how the book would portray Maddie’s overall reaction and perspective about it, but I thought the book handled it beautifully and realistically. You can tell that Maddie’s not totally happy about it as she oftentimes have difficulty coping with it, but she does take advantage of her “gift” especially since her father died and she and her mom needed money to get by. You can absolutely feel the anger and frustration brewing inside her at the fact she can’t save anyone from their impending deaths. She hates that she could only warn them, and hates that some of them don’t take her seriously until death is staring at them at pointblank range.
And man, the way Maddie tells them, we can really feel the pain in her words. It’s amazing how such a PR book feel so personal. I mean, seriously, EVEN I WAS SO AFFECTED I FELT LIKE CRYING IN FRUSTRATION! Add to that the suspense of the plot. Man, oh, man, the way the story unfolds here with the murders and everything really makes you want to scream and check the last page just so you can be reassured everything will be fine in the end. It was absolutely nerve-wracking to see our heroine continuously doubted and seen as a serial killer. If you combine the thrill each page gives you and the very intimate and realistic voice of Maddie, it would make a 100% amazing reading experience, which this book was in a nutshell.
If there was one thing I didn’t really like about this, it was the fact that the heroine kept refraining from telling her lawyer and the authorities about important information using the lamest fucking reasons as possible. “Oh gee weez, I keep seeing that dark truck following me everywhere! I should tell my uncle but he and I had just a fight so I don’t feel like saying it now.” or “Well, that guy leered at me and looked at me like he was going to kill me, but I don’t think I should tell that to the FBI because it was probably a coincidence.” or “I think I’m being stalked, but I conveniently forget UNTIL the very end. WHOOPSIE!”
And I’m like FUUUUCK YOOOOOOUUUUU.
That bit seriously pissed me off, especially since it was such a recurring incidence. I mean, girl, there is a serial killer on the loose and you don’t bother telling that ONE IMPORTANT SINISTER GUY because he’s probably harmless in the end and his looking at you that way was just a coincidence?! What kind of illogical motherfucking sorcery is this crap?! It was seriously so irritating.
Other than that, this was a great book. READ IT.
3.5 Hot Espressos
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It sounds really interesting actually, aside from her not telling people the important stuff. Might have to pick it up some day. Thanks!
3.5? awww.. i would read it if it was 4, but I guess everyone has difference in opinion. might put it on my list instead
MIchelle @ Book Briefs
hahah your review cracked me up. I haven’t heard too much about this book yet. but I am intrigued.
Michelle @ Book Briefs
I totally agree it took way to long for her to come clean. But, without her bad choices, we would have missed a lot of the suspense. A book I think teens will enjoy very much. Great review!
While that’s true, I feel that it’s such a cheap tactic now. I think there are other ways to make it suspenseful without making her too much of a nitwit. Haha.
You liked it better than I did. I wanted to slap her for the reasons you suggest but more too. AND I was fuming over how ridiculous the FBI and school behavior was! Really? That’s just a bunch of BS and not happening.
Nova @ Out of Time
I wanted to read this book because it LOOKED cool but after your review, i only want to read it more. books that make me feel are the BEST and only kind of book, in my opinion and even though there were lame ass reasons for her stalling, I still want to read it bad!
A long time ago, I read fan fiction about Twilight that had this exact idea. I thought it was pretty neat and different. This sounds so similar. Anywhoo, thanks for sharing.
Yes, this was a great book!! I completely agree with you though about the heroine keeping certain things to herself. I also noticed certain inconsistencies with the police investigation. Some of it seemed unrealistic. But I was willing to suspend belief for fiction. 🙂
Julie @ Books and Insomnia
Read and loved this book too, but I get what you’re saying. There were also times when Maddie annoyed me, but not so much. 🙂 Great review as always, Faye! You’re so funny, I wuuuuuv you! 😀
This does sound like a pretty good book and like it has a great plot to it. But sadly I have already read a book called Numbers by Rachel Ward, and there is a main character who can see death dates as well. Seeing as I LOVED that trilogy like crazy I doubt I would get through these happily without comparing them like crazy :/