By: Victoria Laurie
Available Jan 2015
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 maybe connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?
This Blonde’s Review:
Maddie knows the date everyone she sees will die, even if she doesn’t meet them in person. Too bad they didn’t recognize the significance of the dates before her father died, otherwise maybe they could have saved him. Having a weight like that on her shoulders is enough to make Maddie cynical and sure that no matter what she does it won’t change anything. Because if she could change a person’s death date that might make her feel even worse about seeing her father’s death date and now doing anything about it.
After her father’s death Maddie’s mother became an alcoholic who didn’t do much to take care of her. It is up to Maddie to make sure the bills are paid and her mother is taken care of. Her mother talks her into using her ability to tell people death dates for a price. Of course one thing leads to another and something we can all expect to have happen happens. Someone who was given a death date for a child who isn’t sick gets angry. The woman takes Maddie’s insistence that she watch out for her child as a threat, so when the child disappears Maddie is at the top of the suspect list. Which we could see coming from a mile away but of course our character does it anyway because she is a good person despite all of her troubles. She can’t Not warn this mother about the impending death of her child.
Being suspected of murder isn’t something that would help even the most popular teen, but Maddie is already seen as strange. Her best friend isn’t seen in the best light either as they’re both accused of being part of something. When they attempt to warn another person whose date they see approaching way too soon it backfires on them as well. With multiple people disappearing under suspicious circumstances and then being murdered after Maddie has seen their death date it doesn’t look good for either of them.
This book was pretty interesting. It’s a question people ask all the time, would you want to know when you die. Maddie knows when everyone will and is the one who could give you that answer if you wanted it. She has the authorities pushing her and not believing that she can do what she says. It doesn’t sound real and these men are not ones to jump to the unlikely answer. Her life gets increasingly worse and more dangerous as the people in her community and school believe that she must be guilty. I hated that they were attacking her and making life miserable for her, but we all know that people jump to conclusions and will believe the worst. Especially when the person accused is someone they’re already afraid or uncertain of.
Trying to figure out who could be guilty was so good. Her friend’s arrest and subsequent change in personality were hard to see. He is that best friend we always want to see our characters with, the kind of guy who is supportive and believes in what Maddie is capable of without being afraid of her. And obviously there has to be a guy. The thing that kind of annoyed me about that a little is that there was really very little reason for there to be a guy except that a book with a girl should have a guy she’s interested in. Just mention him once or twice, have her notice him, a conversation, and ta da there’s the love angle. The way that worked at the end wasn’t a huge surprise because obviously there should be a boy to prove that everything works out once they find out who the killer is. But I really think we could have skipped any mention of the guy and the story wouldn’t have been missing anything.
The struggle with her family was hard. Maddie’s uncle wanted to be there for her, but she wasn’t willing to leave her mother or live in a big city. Maddie’s mother is too much of a mess to get a real job and take care of her. So Maddie has essentially raised herself. Luckily her uncle is a lawyer so she isn’t going through the legal aspects of the book alone, the problem is whether she’ll listen to him or not. And obviously the book wouldn’t be very much fun if she listened to everything her lawyer uncle told her to do.
If you like books with a little bit of the unusual and the suspense of wondering if one of our characters is a killer or if it is an unknown, then you’ll enjoy this one.