I've had Numbers by Rachel Ward on my shelves unread for ages. It sounded really good when it first came out and I was really excited for it, but it kept being bumped off the top of my TBR pile by other shinies. The story of a girl who can look into a person eye's and know the date of their death is an interesting premise, one I've always been drawn to. It just so happened that I ended up reading Numbers just a few weeks after the untimely death of my aunt and it really made the events of Numbers stand out that much more. Everything felt more emotional and powerful while I was still in the process of grieving.
Because while my initial thought about Jem's gift of seeing these numbers was 'ooh, that could be fun' in a morbid curiousity way - but when I did read it, I could sense the weight of this gift hanging around poor Jem. It isn't an easy life, her's. She became aware of the meaning of the numbers only after her mother had died when she was a small child. So this gift is more of a burden or a curse and because of it, Jem is loathe to really make any connections or relationships with other people. She doesn't know how she can, knowing the things she knows.
That is, until Spider comes along and Jem decides to take a chance. Due to Spider's hulking size (and questionable body odour!), he intimidates a lot of other people but together, as two outsiders, Spider and Jem are able to start off this wonderful friendship. It was really lovely, the two of them, starting off this new friendship of theirs. But it's all put to the test, when while out in London, Jem's numbers start telling her something shocking and dangerous is on the way and that spells trouble for both Jem and Spider.
I really, really loved this book. I thought it was an interesting premise with some really wonderful characters. I love how the numbers provide a sense of urgency and also show how fragile life is. I found it to be very emotional - the loneliness and isolation Jem feels is so distinct at the beginning, followed by this brief period of almost-happiness as she settles into this thing with Spider, before crashing towards this thrilling finale. It was a real roller-coaster ride for me and I loved every minute of it.
This is only the first book in a trilogy, and I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series! I want more.