Numbers (Numbers Series #1)

Numbers (Numbers Series #1)

3.6 119
by Rachel Ward, Sarah Coomes

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Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city.


Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Jem has a singular and terrifying ability—looking people in the eye reveals to her the date they will die. Needless to say, she avoids eye contact. Her mother overdosed; she's on her umpteenth foster home; and school (when she goes) is a dead-end special education class. But school also brings her closer to Spider, a gangly bundle of raw energy who genuinely likes Jem—and who she knows has just weeks to live. Their bittersweet courtship becomes terrifying when their first date ends in a terrorist bombing at the London Eye. Jem escapes with Spider moments before the blast, but witnesses report their flight and suddenly they are persons of interest in a police investigation. It's a gritty tale, unsparingly told, and debut novelist Ward demonstrates exceptional control of her material. Her characters remain true to themselves and their bleak circumstances, making for some excruciating moments. This is not an easy read, but it isn't entirely hopeless either. Despite its supernatural premise, Jem's story shines a stark and honest light on the lives of teens on the fringe. Ages 14–18. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—10102001. That's Jem's mother's number. Jem saw it whenever she looked into her mother's eyes, but it wasn't until four years after the woman's fatal heroin overdose when Jem was 11 that she realized that the number was the date her mother would die. And it's not just that number that the teen sees—she knows when everyone will die by looking into their eyes. Isolating herself from the rest of humanity seems to be the only solution until Spider, a freakishly tall, twitchy mess of a boy, refuses to leave her alone. In spite of the fact that she knows his death date is only months away, she can't resist his overtures of friendship. One afternoon, while ditching school, they head for the London Eye tourist attraction. When Jem realizes that several people standing in line are fated to die that very day, she panics and takes off. Newspapers and television pick up the story, and Jem and Spider, targeted as the terrorists responsible for destroying the Eye, or at least witnesses, are on the run in a stolen car. Ward's debut novel is gritty, bold, and utterly unique. Jem's isolation and pain, hidden beneath a veneer of toughness, are palpable, and the ending is a real shocker. Teens who read Charles De Lint, Holly Black, and Melvin Burgess will take to this riveting book and eagerly await the upcoming sequel.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Jem's been bouncing between foster homes since her mother overdosed when Jem was only six. Now she's a typical troubled teen, skipping her special-ed classes almost as often as she goes. Though she's not entirely typical, as most troubled teens don't see the death dates of every person they meet, floating in eight stark numerals over each head. 10102001, her mother's number. 07142013, her foster mother's. And 12152010, Spider's. Spider is the gangly, twitchy, stinky classmate who's the first person ever to try to be Jem's friend. When the two of them are seen running away from a massive terrorist attack in London-Jem had warning of the deaths, hadn't she?-they flee the police investigation and run away into the country. If only December 15 weren't closing in fast, Jem could even be happy with her new romance. Their journey is filled with heartwarming encounters with helpful but realistically wary strangers feeding their bodies and touching their hearts. A lovely, bittersweet tearjerker about living life to its fullest. (Fantasy. 13-15)
Children's Literature - Renee Farrah Vess
Whenever fifteen-year-old Jem looks into the eyes of other people, she learns a lot about them—and discovers the very day they will die. She avoids personal relationships in order to protect herself from the inevitable pain until she meets Spider. Spider is an outgoing boy who dares to talk to her and does not take no for an answer. Soon Jem realizes that she has broken her personal rule and has fallen into a relationship with him. Both already considered to be troubled outsiders, they decide to run away after Jem notices a suspiciously large group of people with the exact same death date. Now the police want to know why they fled from the scene minutes before the deaths took place. Set in current-day London, the story moves along smoothly, the pace altering much like the chase in which Jem and Spider are involved. Although the story could take a seemingly depressing turn, the result is actually uplifting. As the story focuses on the importance of quality of life and company kept, readers watch Jem and Spider learn to trust, to live, and what it means to genuinely love one another. Reviewer: Renee Farrah Vess
VOYA - Jamie S. Hansen
It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Rebellious fourteen-year-old Jem looks into someone's eyes and sees much more than a soul. What she sees are numbers that translate into the date when that person will die. To escape the burden of her knowledge, Jem has retreated from human contact. In foster care after the death of her drug-addict mother, she skips school and avoids making friends. It is only when she meets strange and gawky Spider, an outsider, that Jem feels a connection to another human being, even though she has seen his number, too. When the two play truant to visit London, one terrifying event at the London Eye changes the world forever, turning Jem and Spider into fugitives from the law. In her debut novel, Ward manages to combine a gripping and action-packed narrative of a flight through the English countryside with the careful delineation of the interaction of two remarkable characters. From her gently sardonic description of two urban youth encountering and ultimately sleeping with a herd of cows to her absolutely stunning and unexpected epilogue, "Five Years Later," this writer never puts a foot wrong. Readers who grab this novel based on its eye-catching cover design featuring a red eye staring at a jumble of numbers will be hooked from the first page. Reviewer: Jamie S. Hansen

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Numbers Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Rachel Ward first won a writer’s award at a regional arts festival, and her prize-winning short story turned into the opening chapter of Numbers, which is her debut novel. She is currently working on the sequel. Rachel lives in Bath, England, with her husband and their two children.

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Numbers 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
FOS More than 1 year ago
Excellent book for mature teens and the young at heart. A fast paced adventure with a teen romance thrown in. The story focuses on Jem, a misunderstood troubled girl with the power to predict when people are going to die, and her equally misunderstood friend Spider. The two are caught up in a terrorist act in London and are forced to flee from the police. In their ensuing flight Jem comes to terms with her life and herself, whilst discovering that sometimes people can really be trusted. Ward is an exciting new talent who writes engaging contemporary fiction. She tackles the complexity of the lives of her protagonists realistically and compassionately. I can't wait to find out what happens in the sequel. I have given this book as a gift to most of my teen friends in England - male and female and they have all loved it.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
This book was so good; you have to read it. Jem is a tired and frightened girl going from foster home to foster home. She's sick of seeing people's "numbers" when she looks in their eyes. The "numbers" are the dates of their deaths. But can she change the dates? Can she find love and happiness? Read it, and find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a real page turner. Itll keep you on your toes and very unique ideas. It changed my #1 all time favorite book! My emotions went up and down while reading this. I laughed and cried, and at times I wanted to crawl in the pages and slap a few characters. Amazing book. I dont think its possible to even dislike this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are no other words to descibe this book! Rachel Ward has a hit on her hands. The concept is imaginative and the writing shapes the plot wonderfully! I finished reading it in a matter of hours and i have loaned it to 4 of my friends so far and they have all loved it too! You must read this book!
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
I chose to read Numbers because the summary of the book sparked my curiosity. I thought the book sounded very interesting. I couldn't put it down when I started reading it. Though she can be mean, the main character is very likable. The author did a really great job writing it and the story was never boring. I love how there were several different genres that the book had. It was a great action/adventure sci-fi story, but at the same time it was like the ultimate love story. I loved how personal the characters were and how well described the places in the story and the characters personalities were. I really loved the book because for me it's everything I look for in a good book. The storyline was interesting and got exciting at a lot of different parts. I also like how part of the story was the mystery of the numbers. The mystery was how she found out what the numbers meant and how they work. My favorite part of the book was the ending because for me it was the most exciting part and the most unexpected. I'm glad I chose this book and I would recommend it to anyone. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.
kiet nguyen More than 1 year ago
My very first book I ever finish. This book is very interested. From the very first time I heard the summary, no matter what  I'm going to finish this book. Numbers is about a shy , unsocialize teenage girl: Jem had a unwanted gift (more like a curse) that  she can see people date of death by look into their eyes.She hide away from people and life for avoid her gift. Then she met Spider ,and she realize how living & loving are so important. The ending of the book is very predictable, it make me can not sit still . It make me want to read the second book of this series !!!!  K.N
book_loverSW More than 1 year ago
this book was one of the best books i have ever read it was very hard to put it down it had drama, action and more everything you would ever want into one great book with a major twist
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot is interesting and so is the love story. It is definitely one of my favorite books. Some parts made me cry and others made me laugh. It is worth buying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay , This story made me feel soooo good ! I LOVED Britney and Spider and Jem. It was one if those romantic sifi books thst should be a movie or something. I could read this book over and over again. The thing is though she shouldnt have put in the part where Spider slipped to his death. That killed me. But the book is like soo full of feeling. I want to see another one like this. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS A MUST READ BOOK-5 STARS!!!! This Is a really good book for mature teens to read, because it is a fast paced adventure that is told in the best way it can be. The story is about Jem a misunderstood teen girl that has the ability to predict the date that people are going to die, and she is very accurate. She tries to avoid relationships because she doesn’t wants to fall in love with someone and his date is coming soon to die, she avoids relationship until she meets spider another outsider and takes a chance to be in a relationship with him, but he only has a brief time that remains before his expiration date comes up. If you don’t read this book it’s your loss!!!!
booksplusmusicequalslife More than 1 year ago
Amazing Book would reccemend it to every teen i know(which is alot). I feel in love with this book since chapter one! I also fell in love Spider, i thought he was the picture perfect boyfriend even though he had his flaws.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was soo interesting, i neverwanted to put down the book.deff gonna read the 2nd book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title says it all!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So i think if you buy this book here it might be in spanish?? BUT DONT LET THAT STOP YOU! Just get the book out of a liberary or something becaseit is sooooo worth it! Love love love totally recomend it
SavvyReader26 More than 1 year ago
Amazing read that won't let you up for air. Jem and Spider are amazing characters. I read this book in less than 2 days. I am an avid reader; about 2-3 books a week (sometimes more)Rachel Ward did an amazing job for a writer just stepping on to the scene. Kudos Rachel!!!
homerjames2 More than 1 year ago
Numb3rs is about a girl, Jem, who has the ability to see the date of people’s death in their eyes. She’s an orphan, poor, bad educated and has big problems to grow-up and find her place in the world. Because of her “gift” she doesn’t want to have contact to anyone, neither to her host-family nor to any other students in her school, till she meets Terry, also known as Spider. Unfortunately he has only three months left to live. Because of this, Jem risks a step into a relationship, which helped her in many ways to get her life under control. Jem as character is very special and difficult. She has a lot of problems, but doesn’t solve them. The other problem is, she has no plan what to do in the future. Children often don’t know what they want to become, but Jem doesn’t even know what she will do in the next minutes. The effect of this attitude is that she’s overwhelmed when the London Eye explodes. Running away is her only solution and how she does solve every problem. The reader doesn’t care very much about the fact that Spider and Jem flee, but more about the plot of the flight. At this point Rachel Ward disappointed me in every way she could do. The descriptions and actions are so boring, that I had problems to keep me awake while reading. The expectations are so high and the content itself is so low. When Spider gets caught, the interest rises a little bit, but till Jem is captured in the church, nothing really exciting happens. The discussions and the fear of Jem in the end are well described in contrast to the middle part of the book. But as in the beginning, the expectations of the end are so high and Spider only dies by simply slipping off. I wouldn’t read the book, because most of the pages are boring and the expectations only get destroyed with every hope of a fascinating story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good bye Sapphire. You are a lovely girl who I will always miss. But, I know Heaven is happy to receive you. We have been best friends for a while now, and I care truly about you. You warned me that your time was coming, and I believe that if you left, I could let you go. I will miss you truly and love you like a sister. I know I can not keep you forever, but I just needed to love what I got while I got it. I doubt anyone is reading this whole thing, but Sapphire, I know you are. In spirit. When your sister told me that you died, I stabbed my elbow twice with broken glass and cut my wrist. I was in the hospital for a while. When I got out, I cried a whole day, nonstop. I was not thinking clearly and thought your sister killed you because all the things you told me about her. I begged to go Sebastian after her. He said he could never kill someone but you could see his fists clenched and veins throbbing. He then said, I am angry though. When I finally started thinking clearly, O realized that if I really cared about you, I could let you go. I tried and tried. It is not easy to let go of someone you love. I am following through with your last wishes to me. It just is not so easy when they are threatening to kill you. I will follow through and NEVER let you down. I love you. I will see you in the next world. I mis you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quietly leaves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in wearing all black. "What happend to her?*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awaome
KConig More than 1 year ago
Review copied directly from my blog: thepopcultist[dot]blogspot[dot]com I really love the whole concept behind this book. There is a lot of potential in a story about a girl who can see the date of a person's death simply by looking at them. For me, though, this book fell a bit short. The synopsis is incredibly misleading. When I bought the book I was expecting  it to be an action packed thriller about Jem realizing something horrible was going to happen and then trying to stop it, or something along those lines. In reality, however, the terrorist attack on London, while an important plot point, holds very little significance to the story as a whole. Her realization that numerous people have the same number to when the actual attack takes place takes up only a few pages. And to be honest it was pretty anti-climactic as a whole. She notices the numbers, they run, a bomb goes off, and that's it. I hardly felt anything because the book is told through first person perspective and Jem hardly reacts at all; maybe 2 sentences tops. Then they just go home. So if the book isn't about the terrorist attack what is it about? Well, as it turns out running away from a location just minutes before a bomb goes off looks pretty sketchy, and soon Jem and Spider are being flashed across every television screen in the country. What Numbers is actually about is Jem and Spider living on the run after the attack. I'm not sure if knowing this ahead of time would have changed my opinion about the book or not, but  as it was I was pretty disappointed. I did enjoy Jem's first person narration. I'm a sucker for bitter and sarcastic narrations, so in that respect Jem was right up my alley. If you don't like this type of narration, the book probably isn't for you. I do wish we could have seen her anger fall away a bit from time to time, though. It seems unrealistic that anyone, even someone with so cruel circumstances as Jem, could be that angry all the time. But for the most part that is really the only emotion we see, aside from a few touching scenes with Spider.  Despite the actual plot steering off from my initial expectations, this book was looking at a three star rating for most of the read through. And then the ending happened. I will be frank: I hated the ending. I was really angry with the turn the story took and it kind of ruined it a bit for me. I understand why it ended the way it did, but I still just did not like it. And it seems like it has set up the second book to be essentially the same story with different characters, so I'm not in a huge hurry to go pick it up. I might at some point, though, because the synopsis for book 3 sounds promising.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminds me of harry potter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im not normally a book kind of person but once I picked this book up I could not put it back down..