Jem has seen the numbers since she was born, projected on her brain whenever she looks into someone’s eyes. But it wasn’t until the day her mom died of an overdose that she figured out what the numbers mean: the day the person will die. Knowing this, Jem tries to avoid meeting anyone’s gaze or forming any attachment, but a strange boy named Spider is slowly growing on her, which makes the fact he has only one month to live a constant pain for Jem. When spider and Jem are both near a horrible crime, they have to flee and Jem is determined to find a way to save Spider. But can anything beat the numbers?
This book is rough and tough stuff. Jem and Spider live in poverty in England and are surrounded by crime, drugs, and hopelessness. The novel works so well because Ward really brings these characters to life and lets the reader get to know their world without judging them or writing them off. Because the the novel feels so gritty and real it doesn’t really seem like Sci Fi even though Jem has a unique power. The fact that Jem tries so hard not to use it makes it all the more interesting when she does. I think this is a great read for fans of Ellen Hopkins (YP FIC HOPKINS) and Kevin Brooks (YP FIC BROOKS) or other authors that write stories about seriously troubled teens. This is not a super fun action read, but if you want something a little more serious and unique, give Num8ers a chance.