Book Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward

22 May

numbersEvery time Jem looks someone in the eye, she sees their special number. The number, she’s worked out, is the day that they’re going to die. So when she sees so many people with the same number waiting in line to go on the London Eye, she knows something is about to happen, and she runs. She and her friend Spider steal cars to outrun the police, heading for a beach and a new life–except Jem knows Spider’s number too, and his clock is ticking. When Spider is caught by the police, Jem doesn’t know for sure that she will see him again–can love bring them back together?

Okay. I had been waiting to read this book for a long time. It was yet another of those books that came through the bookstore where I worked, but someone else snapped it up and reviewed it before I got the chance. We didn’t like double reviews and in those days I often only had time to read the book I was reviewing for that week.

Anyway, it was kind of a disappointment, I’m not going to lie. It’s not that it was poorly written–it was well-written, with an interesting premise, realistic dialogue and what have you. I just could. not. stand. the. main. character.

Jem is the sort of kid I would never like in real life. She skips school, doesn’t do her assignments, thinks teachers and police offers and what have you are all out to get her. She’s angsty, she smokes, and she makes really stupid, self-centered decisions. Yeah, she’s got some pretty traumatic history that’s going to mess you up. I just could not relate AT ALL. Every step of the way I was thinking how ridiculous her decisions were and how stupid she was and what a selfish, self-centered brat she was being. For instance: “Woe is me, my boyfriend is going to die, better go kill myself, that might save him. And if it doesn’t at least I won’t know.”

At one point, she and Spider are walking along this dirt path and she was like, “omg, these bags are cutting into my palms and it’s rocky and I’m afraid of cows!” and I’m just like, “Well, who ran away thinking the police were going to throw you in jail for planting a bomb on the eye, you idiot? What did you think it was going to be like?”

I just had no tolerance for her. Especially at the end, with that life-crushing thing that happened. Yeah, Jem, it WAS all your fault. Poor you.

The only other thing that disappointed me was the end of the plot. Well, the whole plot really. The “numbers” thing didn’t really seem to play into it much at all. Actually, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the story was. I thought for sure there’d be some sort of “happily ever after” but it basically made the point that your life is fixed. Yeah, there was the “so live the life you have now” message, but it was kind of depressing in a sense–like people are meant to be the way they are and nothing they do can change that. I mean, Jem had a pretty great speech at the end, but it didn’t really change the overall feeling I got from the book.

Keep in mind that it takes a pretty good book to get me worked up like this, so it’s not all bad. I just couldn’t relate, and to me relating to characters is one of the most important parts of the reading experience. Give it a try–you might have a better time than I did.

Did this book catch your interest? Check it out here!

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward”

  1. Creative Mysteries May 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I don’t think I’d like Jem too much either. This sounds like an interesting read but I agree, it’s hard to enjoy a book when you can’t relate to the main character 🙂

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