Monday, January 12, 2015

When by Victoria Laurie (ARC)

Victoria Laurie
Exp. Pub.: January 13, 2015 (TOMORROW!!!)

WhenMaddie 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?

Maddie's never been a true fan of seeing the random numbers on everyone's foreheads. Especially once her father died on the exact same day that matched the sequence on his forehead. Now riddled with guilt, she moves forward always wondering if she could have some how stopped his death had she only understood what she was seeing. These days, she's a teenager who accepts money to tell people their death dates. When a client comes in asking about her daughter, Maddie realizes it's her son she needs to worry about, with a death date just a week away. Unfortunately, the mother takes her remark as a scam and leaves in a huff, calling Maddie a fraud. Even more unfortunate, when her son goes missing and dies by means of torture, she's quick to poke the finger at Maddie, who now becomes the number one suspect in his murder, despite a bunch of evidence pointing elsewhere.
Her lawyer uncle runs interference, but Maddie is unable to keep her death dates to herself like he asked. When she spots that her best friend's crush is going to die soon too, he becomes obsessed with finding a way to save her, which only drags him into the suspect pool as well. With her alcoholic mother falling apart even more than usual, the teachers and students turning on her at school and the FBI breathing down her neck, Maddie finds it exhausting to keep her head above water, especially once the serial killer begins taking an interest in her.
I'm not really sure if I'd go around telling strangers their death dates if I had that special ability. Would you? Neither would Maddie, but thanks to her alcoholic mother, they needed the extra money to make up for all the vodka bottles. Bad luck really, because it's responsible for spotlighting her gift to naysayers and doubters and attracting attention where she could've gone without. Gotta feel for the girl, especially when she continually tries to get her mother to beat her addiction just so she won't have to continue doing the readings.
As for the serial killer, I guess I found it a bit unrealistic that the FBI would focus so hard on as Maddie as a suspect when it was clear that the evidence was screaming someone else did it. Not to mention she was just a female teenager with good grades and not a strike of red on her permanent record. I guess I could've found their interest in her more plausible if at least some of the evidence had a legitimate chance of being left by her before testing results came in... I don't know. It seemed discrimination drove their investigation instead of the hard facts, which I don't see the FBI doing against a teenage girl. This lack of realism is the main reason I've docked it a little in the star department. Otherwise, it was a pretty good read that kept my attention, and I think most people will find it an enjoyable quick read with just enough mystery to keep you guessing.

ARC provided by Disney-Hyperion for honest review.

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