[494]: When by Victoria Laurie

Disney Hyperion | E-ARC via Net Galley
January 13th, 2015
Young Adult | Suspense
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

When’s  plot line might be something that most readers will find a bit of a novelty. When in fact, the story of a girl who can read a person’s “expiry date” has been done previously by Rachel Ward. Her Numbers series was a bit more harsh than this one as it dealt with  realistic portrayal of the kind of life for a couple of kids in the foster care system of London.  This novel is slightly less jarring than that.

When is the story of Maddie, a high schooler who only wanted to get through life undetected. But with her uncanny ability of knowing the exact date a person is suppose to die, her classmates had labeled her,  a “freak”. Her mother’s continued descent down the abyss of a bottle has been a direct result of her father’s death in the line of duty.  And with all their money going into her mother’s drinking habit, she’d been forced to use her ability to earn some extra money.

When kids around her started going missing – and worst, started dying – the FBI was quick to focus their attention on her. But when a cheerleader turns up murdered, the investigation quickly shifts to her best friend. Maddie acquires the help of her uncle to prove her friend’s innocence while she begrudgingly tries to work hand in hand with the FBI to find the real killer.

If there’s one thing I can complain about this book is its lack of suspense. Because there were no clear suspects, the readers will miss the response a mystery novel requires for a successful interactive book/reader relationship.  I had no guesses, and no starting point to solve the mystery. While that gives readers the liberty to do their own guesswork, the lack of viable suspects made it look like the killers were chosen at random.

The lack of romance doesn’t bear no relevance in my inability to enjoy this book. In fact, it would’ve been an awkward element if there was one.

Much of the grievances that readers have expressed had to do with unrealistic portrayal of the murder investigation conducted by the FBI.  I didn’t really have a problem with this. A bit of advice, when you read a synopsis and it states something as unrealistic as a person having the ability to tell your exact expiry date, chances are, the author probably have taken artistic/creative liberties over and beyond your expectations. Relinquish your analytic mind and stop looking for something realistic, I say.

This book had such a great foundation. Unfortunately, it couldn’t build any further than what we’re given in the synopsis.

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