Published by Disney Hyperion on January 13th 2015
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.Amazon •
Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.
Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?
Mature-Content Rating: Violence, Language, Alcohol
“…I’m not psychic. I see dates. That’s all. I don’t have visions, and I can’t predict the future, and I don’t see dead people. All I see is a date, and that’s what I tell people. I tell them the day they’re going to die.”
Maddie is overall a likeable character. She’s burdened with a curse of seeing the death dates of anyone who is close enough for her to read their numbers. The author keeps Maddie true to her age (16), which deserves a big star on its own for this genre. She’s not super-girl, taking everything in with a stoic attitude, but instead she fears and acts appropriately to situations without coming over as whiney.
Stubby is Maddie’s best friend; a nerdy skateboarder. His character is overshadowed by the plot, which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have his personality pop out more. His character takes on a drastic bout of change at the end of the book which really progressed too quickly. I think if Stubby had more presence in the book his character would have smoothed out better.
Okay, on to the plot of the story! Now, the major reason for the lack of stars is not because of a bad plot or bad characters. The story has a great plot with a good balance of mystery and paranormal elements. BUT it loses out on technicalities. For one, the death of one boy calls in the FBI. I did like the agent Faraday, but unless the boy’s family was high on the pecking order it doesn’t seem believable that FBI agents would be sent in.
Also, even though I do overall like Maddie’s character, she is such an idiot when it comes to a guy who she thinks is stalking her. Tell her mom? Nope. Her uncle? Nah. The FBI agents? No. Ignore the stalker even though there’s a murderer on the lose targeting kids her age? Bingo! The author clearly wanted Maddie’s character as closed off as she could be, but working her character this way just made her into an idiot.
On to the mother. Maddie’s mother is an alcoholic that checked out after Maddie’s father died. I can’t really say anything about it though. It’s become a custom for YA books to have orphan main characters just so parents won’t get in the way of the story, but for once I would like to see a normal-ish parent/child relationship.
Overall, When is an entertaining mystery with a splash of paranormal and can keep you reading to the end, but may make you pull out a few hairs along the way.