Teens @ Duluth

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Numbers – Rachel Ward

Posted by Laura on May 21, 2010

If Jem looks into your eyes, she will know the date of your death.  She sees the numbers in her head.

As far as she remembers, she has always seen the numbers.  She didn’t know what they were for, until she saw a man write her mother’s numbers down on a piece of paper the day she died.  Jem was six years old at the time.

Since then, she has bounced around foster homes.  She tries to stay away from people, so she won’t see their dates.  And because she won’t look people in the eye, she is a target at school.  So, she skips.

One day while skipping, Jem goes to one of her hangouts and sees that someone from school is already there.  Spider.  A tall  kid with a funky smell, the inability to stay still and a date of death just months in the future.  Try as she might, she just can’t shake him.  But, is it so bad to finally have a friend.  Even if he will die soon?

Ditching another day, Jem and Spider go into London to hang out.  While Spider is ranting about the cost of riding the London Eye, Jem sees that day’s date when she looks in the eyes of a couple in line.  Then, the same date in the next person’s eyes.  And the next.  She convinces Spider to leave with her, NOW, and they run away.  Minutes later the London Eye blows up.

Now Jem and Spider are wanted for questioning.  Everyone in England is looking for the two youths “in hoodies and jeans: one black, very tall; one shorter and white. (p.81)”

Numbers by Rachel Ward, is gritty.  (Language, sex, theft, death…)  This book is also gripping.  And there will be another.

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