I have never had a head for numbers. You may have realised that I am more of a words kind of girl. That doesn’t mean that I am not fascinated by numbers though – even if I can’t always add them together very well For this reason, I would like to say that is why I was drawn to reading the book Numbers by Rachel Ward. But I was bought it randomly by my sister and her boyfriend for Christmas – random, just as numbers can be.
Numbers is a trilogy – Numbers 2 Chaos and Numbers 3 Infinity completing the trio. So far, I have read the first two. And they are fantastic. Full of drama and twists and turns. And, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover and all – but they are pretty ace too. Numbers also litter the pages and I swear I could see numbers along the closed pages when the book is shut – but I wasn’t sure if I was going a little crazy like the characters and thinking I could see numbers!
But I haven’t told you enough to make you want to pick up a copy yet. In the first book, Jem is a troubled teenage girl and she can see numbers. In people’s eyes. It is a date. Of when they are going to die. As soon as I read that on the blurb, I was intrigued. I like psychological plots and I knew this would be one. Like, would she ever tell someone their number? Could she save lives? Will she find out her own number? It is compelling stuff because if you think about it, we all have a number. A death number. Without being too morbid, we are all going to die some day. But we don’t think about it because there is no point. We don’t know when it will be. Even if we have a terminal illness, we don’t know the exact day. Would you want to know? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I would be terrified of that day getting nearer. We all like to believe that we have a long stretch of life in front of us and maybe that’s what gets us from day-to-day.
But Jem does know. She sees a number each time she looks at someone, meaning that a lot of the time she doesn’t want to look people in the eye. She is a typical teenage girl in that she avoids eye contact and is awkward in social situations. She is not so typical for the reasons though: She not only sees the date that will end a person’s existence but she has lost her mum to drug addiction, she has no other family and gets shoved from foster home to foster home and she has no friend in the world. Depressing yes – so maybe not get it your teenager to help cheer them up
It is however action packed and this begins when she meets Spider. Jem is a small, delicate, white girl. Spider in strong contrast is a tall, black, gangly bloke. They are opposites, yet find that one thing in common. They are both outcasts and both lonely.
The plot thickens when Jem and Spider are out for the day. Hanging out in London like teenagers do, they want to go on the London Eye but realise it’s too expensive. Jem quickly realises this is meant to be, as all the people around them, have the same death number. The date of that day. She manages to convince Spider, without telling him why, that they need to go. Minutes later, the London Eye explodes. Taking lives and reinforcing the fact that the numbers must be true! But they are seen running from the London Eye just before the explosion and the police think they are responsible for it. So they go on the run.
I won’t give more away but it all gets very intense as these two naive teenagers go on the run. Spider steals cars yet he has never driven one before. The whole country knows their faces so they have to keep hidden. And remember, as soon as Jem looked Spider in the eye, she knew his number. And she knows his fateful day is going to be soon. So it’s all about can she change his number? Can they stay hidden from the police and the press? Or is she going to have to come clean about her number visions?
It really is an amazing story and they are believable characters. Spider’s gran adds a lot of humour and wackiness to the story, whereas Karen, Jem’s foster Mum brings in the realistic and sensible elements – and tries to bring in some stability for Jem.