ARC Book Review: When by Victoria Laurie

When CoverBook: When by Victoria Laurie

Expected Publication: January 13, 2015 by Disney Hyperion|Expected Number Of Pages: 338

Where I Got It: an ARC from netgalley, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: none

Genre: YA Contemporary with a paranormal twist

You can find When on goodreads & Victoria Laurie on twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

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?

What I Thought:

I liked When!  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or where the story was going, but I was surprised with where the book went.

I thought that Maddie’s ability to see your death date is an interesting, even though it doesn’t quite work.  I don’t know how to explain it but maybe it’s because we only see her do it for a handful of people.  And there’s the fact that people pay her so they know when they (or someone they care about) will die.  People are very cautious around her. and she does get treated differently because of it.  I don’t blame them, but at the same time, it’s something she has no control over.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to know, because I would never be able to think of anything else, you know?

But it’s people wanting to know that gets Maddie into such a big mess.  I totally get why law enforcement turns to her, and why they don’t believe her.  And yet, her uncle is pretty resistant to them giving her a test to see she’s really not making things up. This would eventually led to me wanting to slap Maddie upside the head for her stupidity (there were other times when she did some pretty stupid things, but one moment in particular…just…there are no words.

I don’t know how I feel about the murder mystery.  Maddie knowing people’s death dates made her a likely suspect (alongside her best friend) and the person behind things was unexpected.

What was most frustrating was the fact that the FBI would not her or Stubby alone- but especially Maddie. Things were really circumstantial, and while I understand their focus on her, I think they definitely took it too far.

I did like the link between the disappearing kids, which, now that I think about it, should have been able to figure it out.  And I liked that it was something people knew, which is a nice change from keeping it hidden.  I really liked that her uncle was there for her, and that she had Stubby.  And her one neighbor was such an awesome person who looked in on Maddie and made sure she was okay.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked When, because the idea is interesting, and it was hard for me to put down at times.  But I’m also torn, because the mysteries combined with her abilities didn’t completely work (but I think Laurie did make a really effort).  When gets 3 stars.

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