"No, it never happens. Happily ever after. It's a lie, Spider. It doesn't happen to people like us."- Jem, NUMBERS.
What would it be like to see the date of everyone's death, right when you looked into their eyes?
A charlatan would use it to make money, but most people would just get depressed by it.
Poor foster child Jem certainly dislikes it. Ever since she figured out that the numbers she saw when she looked at people were the dates of of their deaths, and she was powerless to do anything about it.
So she stays as far from people as she can. She knows when they'll die, so she doesn't want to get close.
But you know how life can be, and she does get close. Spider is a lanky black boy in her class, and his number's coming up. Somehow, they still become friends, and Jem starts to hope that maybe she can stop his number from killing him.
They end up on the run after being suspects in a terrorist attack in London, the whole time Jem knowing how much time Spider has left and wondering how he's going to go. She never wished as hard that the number was wrong before this.
This book is REALLY good. Jem's character is believable and unique. Her relationship with Spider is complex. In fact, she thinks at first he's a stinky dumb tosser who is not at al attractive in any way. But as they grow closer, yeah, she changes her mind. She even starts to like his stench! Even though he doesn't believe in washing! And honestly, that is really common in high school boys; I don't know why books always make them out to be nice-smelling and handsome at first sight. It's just . . not . . LIKE THAT in high school. The guys are NOT all gorgeous. And most of them stink. So this is probably the most realistic high school boy I've read about in a YA novel.
I mean, imagine if Bella Swan thought Edward Cullen was ugly and smelly. IT WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE ENTIRE STORY. I mean, can you imagine her going, 'God, why does that ugly smelly creep keep looking at me? Why won't he just GO AWAY?!'
You probably can't.
And even though HE believes in happily ever after, she doesn't. She has proof. She knows exactly how long they have to be happy, and she can't do anything to change it.
While seeing everyone's death date is not a realistic character trait, it does make for a good story, especially because the rest of it is so realistic. The people are ordinary. They get in trouble. They don't have much. SO you team it up with the impending doom of knowing when they'll all die, and you get something rather heart-wrenching.
Oh, and there's a SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!