Author: Victoria Laurie
Published: January 13, 2015
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 26, 2019- January 6, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
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?
I loved everything about When by Victoria Laurie: A mystery, an intriguing ability that most people would not want to have, and what to do with that ability.
Our protagonist Maddie has had a tough life; She sees numbers on everyone’s foreheads in person or in pictures, and those numbers are actually the individual’s death date. Her father died when she was younger and then her family realized what the numbers meant. Her mother is a non-functioning alcoholic due to her husband’s death, and Maddie feels to blame for everything.
Maddie does readings to supplement income and give people their death date. After doing a reading for a woman on one of her children, then a young boy goes missing, Maddie then finds herself getting attention from the FBI. The FBI agents don’t know what to think of Maddie, but suspect her of having something to do with the disappearance. Then a teen goes missing and Maddie’s whole life is turned around.
I really did love this novel. I started listening to the audiobook at the end of 2019; it was the first book I finished in 2020, and what a start to the new year! I really liked Maddie and could not envision having this ability. Imagine seeing everyone’s death date as you pass by them! What do you do with this ability? How do you handle seeing a death date that is in the immediate future? Do the death dates change or are they stagnant?
Despite the novel being YA and scenes taking place in school, fortunately there is not much teen drama involved. We are full force mystery with this story! The mystery was compelling and I was satisfied with the climax and ending of the novel: Who is taking these kids and why?
Narrated by Whitney Dykehouse, she portrayed Maddie perfectly. I also pictured Maddie as the teen on the cover. This one would make a great movie or limited tv series. I would love to know what happens next with Maddie, and if she ever comes across anyone else with this ability.