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Numbers Paperback – 5 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; 1 edition (5 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190529493X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905294930
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a fiftysomething author of books for young adults. I live in Bath, England, with my husband, two grown-up children, dog and chickens. I've had 'sensible' jobs for 25 years, and now I'm a writer too. I've been writing for about 15 years, and have published the Numbers trilogy, The Drowing and Water Born. The first book came out in the UK in 2009 and the USA in 2010. My Numbers books explore the gift of being able to see death dates. If you looked in somebody's eyes and saw the date of their death, would it change the way you felt about people? Would it change the way you lived your life? They've been published in 26 countries and optioned for film.

Find out more about me at my website: www.rachelwardbooks.com

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Rutter on 11 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Sometimes a novel comes along just at the *right* time, and Numbers by Rachel Ward was one of those books for me. We are experiencing riots here in the UK at the moment (hopefully settled down now, fingers crossed) and there has been a lot of discussion about what drove the kids to riot and loot. There was one particular part of Ward's novel that stood out for me and made me sit up: "Why do you think? It's all so simple, isn't it? Tell the truth and it will all be all right. Maybe it's like that here, but it's not where I come from. They see a black kid with some money, they see a dealer. They see a couple of kids, just chilling somewhere, hanging out, they see a couple of muggers. They need to collar someone for a crime, they collar someone - one of the usual suspects, anyone who fits the picture, doesn't matter. Truth and lies, it all gets mixed up."

Rather than the high concept science fiction novel that Numbers appears to be on first contact, it is actually more of an examination of society. It was written in 2009, two years after the bombs hit London. It shows an uneasy attitude towards certain parts of society; it highlights particular prejudices that have been around since the idea of 'haves' and 'have nots' was introduced.

Jem, the main character, is fiercely independent and knows her 'place' in the world. She is outside looking in at all those who have proper jobs, relationships and money. When she meets Spider, it is an encounter between two kindred spirits. Spider is a tall black guy, already dabbling in drugs and "deliveries" for a local gang boss. He is looked down on by some, and is intimidating to others.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amy on 3 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
I have always loved reading a wide range of books so I'm always ready to try something new. And I was surprised to find this teenage book so addictive, I usually find that although I am a teenager myself (I'm 16)teenage books never quite have the depth of adult ones, but 'Numbers' is a clear exception.

When I first read the description for this book I was immediately reminded of a music video by Nickleback which features the same idea: that there is someone who can see the numbers of a person's life. When I saw the music video I really liked the idea, so I thought I would see how it had been converted into a story.
At first I was a little critical. How could a writer give such an unusual talent credibility in today's society? But the character of Jen is perfect for this. She is not the stereotypical 'Mary-sue' character who usually gets the ability, instead she is a slightly dysfunctional girl who has had to take the hard road in her life. But despite her spiky, and sometimes brutal, attitude I found, as a reader, that I could really sympathise with her. Something I found myself scoffing at, as a character like Jen would surely despise such sympathy!
As the book continues so does the relationship between Jen and Spider. Again, they are an unusual choice of lovers, but it is this uniqueness that becomes so addictive when reading. And the fact that both of them are relative outcasts give their relationship a poignancy as they begin to depend upon each other.

The one thing I think let the book down was the placing of the London Attack. It happened around halfway through and then I expected something similar to happen later on as Jen and Spider spent time together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pricey56 on 13 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like other readers, I thought the idea of this book was great and was what prompted me to purchase it. I have no problem with the YA format as I have enjoyed other YA books such as the Hunger Games and Twilight, but this one was just flat.
The bombing on the London Eye was really the only action in the book, and was over in the first few chapters. From this point on the story just became boring, and completely unrealistic. There was no apparent reason for the kids to have to make a run for it in the first place, and it is unlikely that Spiders grandmother would react as she did, telling them that she agreed it was their only option - to steal a car and money and head off to nowhere.
All they needed to do was speak to the police and explain what had happened, without even needing to say about Jem's 'gift' - they could have just said they had a bad feeling, there was nothing to link them to the bombing and they hardly fit the profile of a terrorist.
I feel that so much more could have been done with this original and intriguing idea, such a shame.
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Format: Paperback
I read a lot of positive reviews of this novel when it was first released and have finally got around to giving it a try. Whilst I enjoyed it enough, it unfortunately wasn't quite as good as I'd expected from the summary, which sounded really intriguing.

The book revolves around fifteen-year-old Jem who has the extraordinary ability of being able to see the date that someone will die whenever she looks into their eyes. Isolated Jem has grown up in a string of foster homes since the death of her mother and finds it hard to trust or get close to anyone, so is naturally reluctant to let in Spider, a youth she meets who seems to want to be friends. On a trip to London however, Jem is horrified to encounter an entire group of people who all have the same numbers of death- that day's date. Knowing something horrific is about to happen, Jem goes on the run, setting off a chain that will have dramatic consequences for both her and Spider...

Generally this was a well-written story, though it didn't quite grab me in the way that I'd anticipated as once the main event happens it is basically a lot of dialogue and running (with of course the predictable love story)! Still, characters were fairly well developed and I did find Jem to be quite intriguing as a main protagonist. I suppose my main impression of this novel was that it could have been a bit more suspenseful- it's all peaks and troughs and the majority of the book is a bit flat. I have read far more compelling YA fiction that really hooked me from the get go (The Hunger Games, The Host, Delirium, Uglies, etc) and I think this was a bit weak in comparison to those.
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