Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rachel Ward. NUMBERS

The day her mother died, Jem saw numbers in her eyes. She didn't realize until later that those numbers corresponded with the date of her death. She was young and unsure of what she was seeing. But ever since then, when she sees the numbers, she knows what they are. She's even tried to change them by preventing a death. She has never succeeded.

She has trouble forming relationships, because she doesn't like to look in peoples eyes and see how long they have. But then she begins to get closer to someone who really gets her. His name is Spider. They begin spending a lot of time together. One day while at a public event, Jem begins noticing that all the people around them have the same date in their eyes. Today's date. She notices a few creepy things and decides that something big will be happening there in moments. They have to get out of there. She grabs Spider and they run. Moments later, an explosion erupts and kills a lot of people. Unfortunately, video captured them running moments before the explosion, so the cops put their pictures on TV and begin a manhunt. Turns out that the explosion was an act of terrorism, and Jem & Spider are the chief suspects/witnesses. 

Since they've both had their share of trouble with the law, they figure they cops will find something to pin on them, so they go on the run. To make her life even more complicated, Jen knows Spider's numbers and she really wishes she could do something to change them.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book right away. I thought it would be more about Jem's ability, but it wasn't. there is a lot more to the story. It's in England, so it has quite a different feel to it. The surroundings and the dialogue is different and interesting. The mood feels kind of dystopian, although that really isn't the genre at all. It's hard to describe. It's gritty and very unique. It's not an easy read - it's an up close look at teens on the fringe. Teens who definitely aren't on the fast track to college, but rather those who would need a lot of encouragement to finish high school in the first place. The ending is truly shocking!

You won't read anything like it, for sure.  For a debut novel, this is pretty amazing. Plus, I just found out that the sequel just came out. (in England - not sure if it's in the US yet) For more on the author go here 
Here's the cover for the sequel:


Sunday, August 8, 2010


A famous author of ghost stories named Ignatius Grumply moves into a house for the summer to help him focus on writing. He hasn't published anything in 20 years. He moves in to find that there is an 11-year-old boy living there. In his haste to get the lease signed, he didn't read the fine print. Apparently, he's been roped into taking care of the boy and his cat.

To make matters worse, the boy, Seymour, claims there is another occupant living with them, Olive C. Spense, the ghost of the original owner of 43 Old Cemetery Road.

You might assume that an author of GHOST stories would understand and believe Seymour, but you would be wrong. Ignatius thinks the boy is crazy. Plus, he cannot focus on his writing with all the door slamming and piano playing that goes on.

Will Ignatius Grumply be able to make nice and finish his book or will he be forced out - like all the previous occupants before him?

This is a witty, adorable book. The constant word play had me giggling from page one. The quirky characters kept me intrigued to the very last page. I also enjoyed how the whole story is told in letters. It would be a great way to teach children how to properly format letters. Each character has his or her style and signature to tell them all apart.

The second book in the series has already been published. It's going on my "to read" list!

For more on these authors go here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sarah Mlynowski. GIMME A CALL

I loved this one! Wow, it's so much fun! It's one of those adventures that you wish you could live out in real life. Check it out:

Devi is sulking about how her life as turned out. It's a few days before prom, but she's recently broken up with her long time boyfriend Bryan. They were together for almost 4 years. Because of the intensity of that relationship, Devi's best friends drifted away. She no longer had time with them. Now that she's broken up with Bryan, she has no one left. While thinking about how she wishes she could go back in time & re-do some of her decisions, she drops her phone in the "make a wish" fountain at the mall. After clumsily traipsing  through the fountain to retrieve the phone, she turns it on. Of course it doesn't work after being dunked. But then, she pushes a few more buttons and it comes on and calls some girl who identifies herself as Devi. Devi and the other girl go round and round and finally come to the conclusion that they are talking to themselves - four years apart. In other words, Senior Devi has called Freshman Devi.

Oooh, Senior Devi likes this! She figures she can make some changes to really set herself up in the future. But what she doesn't realize is that every decision has a consequence, some good, some not so good. And what if Freshman Devi doesn't want to go along with this plan to re-do her life?

This was a hysterical adventure with lots of plot twists. I love the idea of how one decision can change the whole course of your life. It's really a neat concept executed flawlessly.

I enjoyed a few other books by the lovely Sarah Mlynowksi. Check out the reviews here.

She's written a ton of great books, go here for her website.