Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Review of Numbers
Burdened with such an awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But while they’re waiting to ride the Eye Ferris
wheel, Jem notices that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today’s number. Today’s date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem’s world is about to explode!
Rating: 2 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Younger YA readers
High point: Non-stereotypical supporting cast
Low point: Spider
Reader maturity: 15+
Based on the reviews that I read, I eagerly awaited Numbers, but the book left me feeling flat and unsatisfied.
Jem, a girl who can see the Numbers--death dates, if you will--embarks on a road trip, fleeing London after a terrorist attack she thinks she's being accused of. It sounds like a great plot, but everything fell flat.
It might could be attributed to my upbringing, but I just could not relate to Jem. She was bitter and angry and not the brightest crayon in the box. Her crush on Spider grossed me out too; Jem kept talking about his foul body odor because Spider didn't shower for days or weeks at a time. Call me shallow, but where I'm from, it's hot and you had better shower EVERY DAY and apply deodorant liberally or you're going to smell. Bad. And everyone is going to stop standing anywhere near you. How hard is it, in London, to bathe every day or so? It's not even hot up there! So, to smell that bad, Spider must've been quite averse to water. And...just...yuck. It makes my nose hurt just thinking about it.
Disregarding the repeatedly mentioned stench, Spider and Jem never really connected to me. Jem was okay by herself, but she and Spider didn't have the spark or sizzle of friendship, let alone young love. Jem also makes a lot of foolish decisions that I couldn't empathize with. Her ability to see people's numbers was an interesting plotline, but I couldn't get into the rest of the novel.
One thing I did like was Jem's foster mother. She wasn't a witch, and she didn't hate Jem; she went out of her way to be patient and caring. This was a nice change from the usual evil stepmother-type family situation.
Assuming that it's just me unable to relate to Jem, I thought Rachel Ward was a good writer, and I'd like to read some more of her work. Numbers just wasn't for me.
Author: Rachel Ward
Genre: Teen Fiction - Fantasy
Book Source: Won from Bookworming in the 21st Century