when book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Maddie, at first glance, is your typical high school student, albeit a little bit shy. She’s been shunned by everyone else in school for having the ability to see a series of digits on the foreheads of her peers and neighbors. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t see these numbers, but until the unfortunate death of her father, she couldn’t decipher exactly what these numbers meant.

When Maddie loses her father, she and her mother realize that these numbers mark an individual’s death date and, just like birthdays, everyone has one and nobody can do anything to change it. Following this discovery, Maddie’s mother had her set up shop and charge people to have their death date revealed. Unfortunately for some clients, she can’t see the circumstances, only the cold hard truth of numbers.

When Maddie’s latest customer becomes distraught over the unexpected news that her son is scheduled for death within the week, Maddie and her best friend try to interfere, warning the poor mother to stay extra safe. This doesn’t end up helping anybody and on the date in question, the boy is missing, presumed to be dead and Maddie as the prime suspect.

The situation continues to spiral out of control when another body is found and Maddie’s best friend, Arnold, ends up with more and more evidence stacking up against him. It’s now a race against time to put the puzzle pieces together and prove Maddie and Arnold’s innocence. All the while, Maddie’s mother is slipping into a deeper depression, landing herself in rehab for her severe alcoholism.

When by Victoria Laurie is a perfect combination of a supernatural mystery, psychological thriller, and detective novel. Laurie keeps it nice and simple whilst lending an air of mystery that keeps you guessing. You really get sucked in, wondering who the real homicidal maniac is, changing your predictions every other chapter, clear up to the very end. I thought, with my track record of novel reading, that I was good at predicting story lines but When was so well done that I never saw it coming.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, two kids, two small chihuahuas, and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She balances her work as a website admin with her hobbies of watching anime and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Disney-Hyperion. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.