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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly good book let down by one thing...
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...
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by Amy

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A thriller that needs just a little more suspense
Jem is a 15 year old with the ability to see that date people will die when she looks someone in the eyes. Poor girl. Because of this, she's a lonely narrator with a hardened London teen attitude and a lack of emotion toward others. How can you if you knew when they'd die?

Typically, though, she meets someone and they start going out: Spider. And she looks in...
Published on 26 Nov 2008 by The Honest Cynic


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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for teenagers ... and adults!, 26 Mar 2009
By 
E. Heckingbottom "elaineheck143" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Numbers (Paperback)
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Imagine looking in the eys of everyone you ever meet and instantly knowing when they will die. How will that affect your relationships? How will you manage to keep the secret? What if it is wrong to keep it secret? What should you do?

That is the dilemma facing Jem, the heroine of this story. She goes through life feeling like an outsider - particularly at school; coping with death and coping with being on the outside, until she meets Spider. Immediately,she knows that it is not going to be a long term relationship - but somehow they get on - as he is a fellow 'outsider' - as is Spider's Grandmother! She recognises the fact that Jem has a 'special gift' and respects her for it.

However, on a day trip to London, she sees something that turns their whole lives upside down! Spider and Jen's attempt to go on the Millennium Wheel is disrupted by a terrorist attack - and they find themselves fleeing for their lives - two of the most wanted people in the whole of the country.

How will they get away? How will they manage to convince the police that they had nothing to do with the attack? How will their lives be affected?

This book is well written, developing an intriguing concept in an interesting way; - a good read for anyone who likes to read about the unusual!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting debut but a little lacking in depth, 27 Nov 2008
This review is from: Numbers (Paperback)
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Numbers almost manages to keep up with its interesting premise; Jem is a disaffected 15 year old girl who is troubled by an ability to read in peoples' eyes the date they will die. Although naturally unsociable by nature Jem quickly bonds with another teenager named Spider and when they are witness to a terrorist attack on the London Eye they are sought after by the police for information and decide to go on the run.

I enjoyed this novel largely because it attempts to tackle 'difficult' characters such as Jem and Spider in a credible and sympathetic manner without resorting to cliches. While the aim of the author is well meaning, unfortunately there are points in the novel where it becomes clear that she lacks the sophistication or subtlety of technique to really pull it off, in the manner of Melvyn Bragg's YA novels 'Junk' and 'Blood Saga'.

The main character Jem starts off as a promising narrator with her matter of fact recital of witnessing her junkie mother's death and her acceptance of her rudderless life as well as the intrigue her special gift evokes. However the character's voice becomes a little monotonous after a while as she spends a lot of time lashing out at others, being unnecessarily bitchy and just generally moody, it's hard to keep liking her. The inconsistencies in Jem's character begins to show when she bonds so quickly with Spider, and then proceeds to shrug off all the author's previous exhortions of the character's independence, self reliance and lack of trust for others by blindly following Spider around the countryside.

Despite the fact that Jem is the main character I found that I kept reading, because of Spider and his nan both of whom are beautifully characterised and realistic representations of a multi-racial family. Plot-wise I'm afraid the narrative isn't very well-thought out and is carried on the strength of the interactions between Spider and Jem. The premise for the two teenagers running away is frankly implausible and unrealistic, even for two such paranoid and anti-police characters. I kept expecting the Nan (who seemed so sensible!) to talk them out of it.

The on the run scenes are initially tense, but the plot and pace grinds to a halt in a few places making it hard to sustain the tension. At a few points the focus was removed so much from the police hunting them that I'd forgotten the two characters weren't on a simple trip. The plot suffers from being woefully predictable in the final third and again in the last third of the novel most of it is frankly very hard to suspend your disbelief for. I'm pretty sure that most older readers will be able to spot the twists and turns coming and faithfully realise the ending long before it arrives. Particularly unbelievable sections are Jem's interactions with the police, the entirety of the Bath Abbey sequence and the massive character reversal in the epilogue feels forced as we are not given the time on the page to see the character's development, so it might as well be an entirely different character for all the resemblance they bear to the previous scenes.

For all of that, one of the greater strengths of the novel is not in the plot but in the quiet interactions between Spider and Jem and between Jem and minor characters revealing attitudes about contemporary life in Britain regarding hoodies, gangs, crime, and class. Overall this isn't the most sophisticated of novels and it does feel like Ward takes shortcuts, but the slight paranormal angle to the plot makes it unique and the short chapters and quick pace of the novel would make this ideal for older reluctant readers of about 13 or over.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dona nobis pacem, 12 July 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Numbers (Paperback)
This is only the first of the Numbers trilogy, and there are two more to come. It’s only slightly spooky and is I would imagine, ideal reading for teens from age 15 upwards. Jem was put in Care when her mother died of a drug overdose. She doesn’t hate the family she’s been placed with, but oddly, there is no father. I had the idea that single Mums weren’t allowed to take on foster children, but maybe the particular local authority in charge are desperate?

Jem and Spider meet up while playing hookey from school and fall into a very spikey relationship when Jem extracts from him a promise never to say anything nice to her. She keeps a secret, even when Spider’s mum intuits that she has some kind of gift from her extraordinary aura. And that secret is that whenever she looks someone in the face she sees the date of their death.

This wasn’t for me. However, I could see that teenagers would be able to credit it and enjoy the love affair between Jem and Spider who is a delightful character and as the plot thickens tries to protect Jem from her extraordinary gift. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t withhold my innate adult scepticism. This is something teenagers will especially enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read!, 23 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Numbers (Kindle Edition)
This book was a gripping book that i couldn't put down! There were twists throughout the story which kept it interesting and extremely exciting! :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and exciting read, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Numbers (Kindle Edition)
Read this book for bookclub, but it had been on my to-read list for a while anyway. When I started reading the first chapter, the book seemed really familiar to me, like it's seen a film or read a book with the same idea. I still have that feeling now I've finished it, but no idea what I could have seen or read that had the same gift in the lead character.

Jem is a likeable character, perhaps more so than Spider, but I did start to warm to him towards the end of the book.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down, I did find a couple of things to be quite predictable. I liked the way it was written, and the supporting characters were all great. I'm planning to read the second book in this series next, as I really want to find out what happens in 2027!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Had better expectations, 1 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Numbers (Paperback)
The blurb doesn't really take into account the fact that the main characters are Londoners from broken homes (if you get my jist) so the language in the story is a little frustrating. Will certainly not be buying the sequel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars gift, 20 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Numbers (Paperback)
bought as a gift am sure the receiver will love it seems from reading other reviews as a good read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Numbers, 20 Nov 2013
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M. Flynn (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Numbers (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. Thrilling, emotional and exciting. Jem and Spider's relationship is beautiful and tragic. Jem's ability to see people's death dates means she aviods people and never gets to close to them. Then she meets Spider and feels herself becoming closer to him. After an accident in central london, they go on the run where Jem tries to fight the inevitable. Wonderfully written story with a sort-of happy ending. Can't wait to read Numbers 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond High Concept, 9 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Numbers (Kindle Edition)
I put off reading Numbers thinking, yeah, another high concept novel - which it is. But the story moves beyond the spine-chillingly brilliant premise - which, I for one, thought was masterful - to a thoughtful examination of two lives on the periphery. Matter of fact Jem and bouncy, lanky Spider, aromatic with BO, are appealing characters and though their stories are bleak, there were moments of sweetness and there was something uplifting about their innocence against the overwhelming odds that they were born into. It's a journey story, and though the ending is inevitable there is a delicious twist at the very end. It's Romeo and Juliet without the long speeches and the sappy love stuff. And it leaves you thinking - about fate, about love, about whether life is ever fair. I loved it. Bravo, Rachel Ward.

(If you also loved this, you might want to read the brilliant and devastating Knight Crew by Nicky Singer)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book., 15 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Numbers (Kindle Edition)
This trilogy was recommended to me by a friend. Once you start, you cannot put the book down. It is a different book that has everything.
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Numbers
Numbers by Rachel Ward (Paperback - 5 Jan 2009)
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