Numbers by Rachel Ward

Is it Fate?

by Victoria Testa

I have to admit my reason for being drawn to this book is rather comical. While browsing in Barnes and Noble, I saw Numbers by Rachel Ward. It had a creepy, intriguing cover and an even more interesting summary. Then I did something I never, ever do; I looked at the authorʼs biography. Discovering that she lives in Bath, England, I almost fainted in the middle of the aisle. My favorite vlogger on Youtube, Charlieissocoollike, is from Bath. The only possible explanation to me was fate. I was simply meant to read this book. Whether it was fate or coincidence, Iʼm happy I read it.

Numbers will make you question everything you thought you knew about life. Jem is haunted by numbers. They follow her wherever she goes. Floating over the heads of her enemies and friends, the numbers are always there. They are expiration dates. The numbers reveal the date of an individuals death.

After losing her mother to a drug overdose at a young age, Jem moves from one foster home to another. As she stumbles through life with a sharp wit and a hatred for authority, she meets Spider. He is a rebel without a cause nearing his due date that is only a month away.

Despite attempts to stay away, Spider continues to find his way back into Jemʼs life. A trip to the London Eye ends with an explosion of more than emotions. The London Eye has been attacked, people have died, and Jem and Spider are caught in the middle of the terror investigation.

They run away. In Englandʼs countryside, the pair are hiding from much more than the police. Spider and Jem are hiding from their increasing feelings toward each other. They are running from a society that has treated them like delinquents from the day they were born. Most of all, Jem is running from Spiderʼs expiration date. She wants to stop the numbers from clicking off the days, but is Jem the one making that clock tick faster?

Jem is a very different character from most young adult heroines. She surpasses spunky to be almost vulgar at times. She is resentful to the people who help her and opposes the idea that she might need help. However infuriating Jem can be, you have to look at it from her perspective. Knowing when someone will die and having no way of stopping it must be unbearable. She doesnʼt want to care about anyone. It just makes it easier to watch them go if you keep them at a distance.

The entire premise of the book brings to the surface questions that are constantly debated. Is there really a plan for everyone? Can fate be stopped or are we simply drawn into our own little vortex of life and death? Numbers makes you wonder if you are the master of your own fate or if we are all just marionettes with no way of cutting our strings.

Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!

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