02 February, 2015

#BookReview :: When by Victoria Laurie

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 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?

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Maddie Fynn is your average teenager with a special gift. She can see numbers associated with each and every person. It was her father’s death that alerted her of the fact that the numbers that she sees are the death dates of that individual. Following her father’s death, her mother goes on a downward spiral and becomes an alcoholic. She uses Maddie’s gift to have sessions with people and warn them off for some extra cash. However, Maddie only knows the dates and not the how and why of it… So when a recent client goes missing on the predicted date, Maddie becomes a suspect in the case. How will she clear her name and will she be able to find out what really happened?

It was easy to like Maddie as the shy teenager from a broken home. I liked her and her best friend Stubby quite a bit in the beginning. Their interactions are always interesting. However as the novel progressed, I was a bit irritated by their stupidity over and over again. I mean, I do expect teenagers to make mistakes, but not like they do. It is like they never really learn. Then there are the law enforcement officials who are just so informal and hilarious that it was difficult to take them seriously. Law enforcement officers should be figures that one can respect and look up to… while these people were certainly likeable, they didn’t inspire much trust in me that they would be able to solve the case. Maddie was surely a better bet. The certain depth that the characters of a mystery novel should posses was clearly missing and it took away some of the good feeling about the book.

The plot is something new for me. I do not know if there are similar books out there or not, but I actually loved the plot. The concept that Maddie can see the date of the death of a person, but not how is very interesting. Plus there is enough action and drama to keep a reader glued to the pages. Also, the author has narrated Maddie’s story in simple language with a smooth flow. The narrative style is easy going and as such it is easy to get into this book.

This book had great potential that was not fully utilized. But still an entertaining read.

Review Copy received from Netgalley


  1. This is one that I've been on the fence about whether to read. Your review gives me good reasons to give it a try. Great review!

  2. This has been on my TBR list ever since and I still can't decide if I'm going to read this book or not. Anyway, great review! :D