Release Date: 1/13/14
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.
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 thehow, 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?
My thoughts on the book:
When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought, "huh. This sounds unique. I think I'll give it a try." I had no idea that the book would be as amazing as it is. When is unique, mysterious, suspenseful, and beautiful. It's a book that's full of heart. The characters are amazing and well-developed; the novel deals with a lot of real issues, and the concept of being able to see death dates on someone's forehead is extremely original. This is definitely one of the must-reads of 2015.
Maddie is a terrific narrator. She has a voice that makes you trust her right away. Her gift seems more like a curse to me, honestly, but she is strong and deals with it very well, I think. It's easy to see why Maddie's gift gets her in trouble with the FBI when kids start getting murdered, but I felt so badly for her and her best friend, Stubby, too. All she wants to do is help keep people alive, and instead, she gets herself in trouble by telling people what she sees. Stubby is an interesting character, and I really enjoyed how he complements Maddie's personality. He really lightens up Maddie's mostly dark life. Maddie's uncle Donny is also fantastic. I really respect him. Her mom is a bit hard to like because of her addiction issue, but it is impossible not to feel bad for the woman.
The plot is complex, and the mystery kept me guessing. There are a few red herrings thrown at us throughout the novel, and while I had thought about the possibility of the guilty party being who it turned out to be, I was still surprised, because the guilty person was on the bottom of my list of possible suspects. However, the big reveal makes sense, and the puzzle pieces fit well. Nothing in this story feels manipulated, thankfully, and I really love the ending. This is a standalone book, and the ending ties things up nicely.
Overall, this book really stood out for me. I enjoyed everything about it. I really can't think of a single thing I didn't like. The plot is intriguing, and the pacing is spot on. The characters are realistic and enjoyable to read about. Give When a try. You won't be sorry.