, , , ,

9781484700082_p0_v2_s300x  I received this book from NetGalley and Disney Book Group/Hyperion in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Victoria Laurie has been one of my favorite authors for years. She has two adult series: The Psychic Eye series, and The Ghost Hunters series. She also wrote an enchanting trilogy for middle schoolers called The Oracles of Delphi Keep. I’ve loved ever single one. Now she has written “When”, her first YA book. The bad news, this won’t be coming out until January 13, 2015. The good news, it’s brilliant! Maddie Flynn can tell when a person is going to die. This shows up as a series of numbers on their forehead. She can do this by seeing them in person or by looking at a photograph. Unfortunately she cannot prevent a death from occuring. Not exactly a “gift” you’d want. When she is very young her father dies even though Maddie saw his death date and communicated it in a drawing. At that time her family had no idea what she was able to do and even if they had, given that her father was a police officer and was killed in the line of duty it’s questionable whether it could have been prevented. In spite of this Maddie and her mother both suffer from deep seated guilt. Her mother copes by drinking and manipulating Maddie into taking paying clients. Because of who she is Maddie is feared, scorned, and bullied at school. Thankfully she has her best friend Stubby who literally will do anything for her, including going to prison. When a reading takes a tragic turn the client blames Maddie and reports her to the FBI who become very interested in her. To make matters worse there’s a serial killer at large and it’s beginning to look as though the victims are being chosen from families of her clients. Will Maddie be able to clear her name and even more importantly discover the identity of the killer and prevent any more deaths? “When” has one of the most unique premises I’ve ever seen. Can you even imagine seeing the date of someone’s death on every person you see? Especially friends and relatives? Sometimes the individual has a normal life span, but others are going to die sooner rather than later. And if that isn’t bad enough, to be completely helpless to do anything? This would be horrible for an adult to have to deal with, but Maddie is only sixteen years old. She is also a remarkably strong female who always tries to do the right thing, even if it gets her into trouble. As if she doesn’t have a big enough burden on her young shoulders, she has to take care of her alcoholic mother. Instead of resenting her Maddie is incredibly protective of her and does everything she can for her. I also loved the character of Stubby. He is the friend we wish we all had. He’s loyal, brave, and will do anything for Maddie. The story is fast paced and filled with surprises and twists. I didn’t really figure out who was the real villain until near the end. Best of all there is no love triangle! There’s actually only a hint of romance for Addie throughout the book which was fine by me. The story has so much action going on that I think a romance would have been a distraction. It’ll be interesting to see if “When” winds up as a stand-alone novel, or the beginning of a trilogy or series. The ending, which was perfect, left things so it could go either way. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more of Maddie, Stubby, or Aidan, her possible love interest. This is a book you can read in one day because you literally won’t be able to put it down! Victoria never ceases to amaze me with her writing and if you haven’t read any of her books, “When” is the perfect one to start with. I highly recommend you add this to your TBR list!