This book had me so excited. The creepy cover and the “would you want to know” tagline hooked me right in. And if you like a Sc Fi/Cri Fi genre mix-up then this might be just the book for you.When by Victoria Laurie
Published by Disney Hyperion on 13th Jan 2015
Genres: Law & Crime, Mystery, Paranormal, 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.
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?
First Line of When by Victoria Laurie:
“I’m not exactly sure when I first started to seeing the numbers.”
My thoughts on When by Victoria Laurie:
I did really enjoy When but I can’t say I was blown away by it. I loved the concept of Maddie’s gift – she can see death dates – but I feel it wasn’t carried far enough in the book. It just was what it was. It wasn’t explored any further or developed throughout the book, it was just a psychic quirk that Maddie had. I wanted MORE from this element of the book. What we got was great, I loved it but it wasn’t enough.
On the other hand the crime fiction/mystery story and Maddie’s own family circumstances kept me invested in the book. Maddie was a thoroughly sweet main character. She is humble about her abilities, caring, a great friend and an awesome daughter, it was a pleasure spending time with her. This girl has powers but never abuses them. And rather than exploiting her gift, it is something that causes her immense personal pain. Maddie feels helpless to do anything about these dates and they become a heavy burden for her which is totally understandable. I felt like I got into her head during the book and could feel her despair at times.
Her mother was a car crash waiting to happen but it made for an interesting and humane angle to the plot. Her uncle and her best friend Stubs were two other absorbing characters and I liked that I didn’t know what to expect from them. They weren’t cliched and came across as unique characters who piqued my curiosity.
I thought the pace of the book was reasonably good but it did lag a little at times. When it comes to crime fiction, the Young Adult versions can’t compete with the adult versions in my personal opinion, they just don’t have the same chill factor or relentless pace. I did like that I was kept guessing during the book though and I didn’t guess the full extent of the plot until near the end of the book which was great. But in a toss up, I’ll pick an adult crime fiction any day.
One interesting part of the book was the lack of romance which is refreshing. Instead it became about Maddie, her family and friendships and her coping with the hurricane of events that she is swept up in.
Overall a very enjoyable read and if the paranormal aspects had been advanced further, I would have loved this book. I’ll be keeping an eye on this author as she definitely has something to offer.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read When by Victoria Laurie?
I’d recommend this to those who like Sci Fi light Young Adult books or to those looking for a Young Adult Mystery book. If you liked The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes then I think you’d also like this one.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest unbiased review.
Bookish Chat : And I’ve got to know! Would YOU want to know? If someone could tell you what date you would die, would you let them tell you? I wouldn’t, I would just rather not know as I know it would alter my whole life.