Jem sees numbers. Whenever she looks a person in the eyes, she can see a number. This is their date of death. She's tried to change the date, but it never works; there's nothing she can do to stop it. Spider is a guy in her class at school. His number is coming up fast - it's only a few weeks away. After getting into some trouble at school, they run off to spend some time in London, just having fun. Jem sees that a lot of the people have the same number - that very day. Unnerved, she forces Spider to leave with her, just before a bomb explodes. It isn't long before Jem and Spider are persons of interests in the explosion, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to stay free.
I think this book has one of the most misleading covers and front jacket blurbs that I've ever read. The cover in particular makes it seem like it's about some kind of cyborg-type character, or artificial intelligence (at least to me). The blurb makes it seem like Jem and Spider are going to be frantically trying to stop a horrific explosion. While a blast is a part of it, it happens in the first third of the book, and not in that way. Jem does have this mystical power, but it's not normal or understood in anyway. But all that aside, I do hope that Num8ers (I always think of it as "Nummers" in my head) finds an audience that likes it for what it is, because there is a lot of great stuff in it. The story of Jem can be heartbreaking at times - a girl who is constantly reminded of people's mortality, and knows exactly when people will leave her. She and Spider have to fight for everything, never letting their guards down, never trusting anyone. I was surprised to see that Ward is writing a sequel to Num8ers...I'm not sure where this sequel will take it, but I'm interested in reading more of the story.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
I Am David by Anne Holm
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd