Monday, December 15, 2014

When by Victoria Laurie

Book review on When by +Victoria Laurie 
YA Debut Novel
**Book provided by the author for an honest review**

Rated it

Blurb:  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?

Review:  Maddie is a teenage girl who only wants one thing, to have a normal life.  Unfortunately, the universe has other plans for her.  As far back as Maddie could remember, she has always been able to see everyone's death date.  No one knew how important this gift would be until the day her father died.  Overtaken by grief and guilt of her husband's death, Cheryl turned to booze to ease her pain while, in the process, neglecting the one and only person left in this world who loved her unconditionally, Maddie.  Ever since Maddie was a budding tween, her mother has pimped her out to charge people for their death date's in order to finance her alcohol addiction, turning Maddie from child to caregiver for a useless shell of a woman she called "Ma." The only person Maddie had to turn to was her best friend, Arnold Schroder aka Stubby.  Stubby was a compassionate young man for his age, and his family adored her.  

One day while providing a reading for a woman named Patrica Tibbolt, instead of giving her one reading on the woman's youngest child with Leukemia, she provides the date for her son, Tevon, because Tevon's date is next week!  But after telling Mrs. Tibbolt, instead of being oh I don't know, grateful maybe, the witch gets pissed off and accuses Maddie of being a fraud and storms out!  When Maddie tells Stubby what happened, he convinces her to try and talk to Mrs. Tibbolt one more time, thinking maybe they could save him, but that turned out to be a big mistake in more ways than one.  The following week when Tevon goes missing, the FBI show up at Maddie's High School to question her about his disappearance.  That's when the rumors start a flying, and soon Maddie finds herself being judged guilty of something she didn't do by her peers and teachers!  This part of the story morphs into such a huge mess, way beyond what I ever imagined!  I was so empathetic towards Maddie that I was binge eating potato chips like you would not believe!!   Thanks Victoria!

Once we are introduced to the FBI, Uncle Donny comes into play.  Donny is Maddie's father's younger brother.  He is a big deal lawyer- single, no kids and an absolute sweetheart when it comes to Maddie.  Donny is now forced to represent Maddie because the FBI douches, Agent's Faraday and Wallace, have honed in on making Maddie's life miserable.  Those two knuckleheads were like dogs with a new bone, and they were not letting Maddie go!  Now that the story is in full swing, as the investigation continues, life only gets worse for Maddie and Stubby.  Like Maddie's life didn't already suck, right?!  Because Cheryl was using Maddie to make money, everyone in town knew about the freak show and her alcoholic mother!  Maddie was picked on and made fun of by everyone at school.  She had the biggest crush on a boy, named Aiden, but she never dared talk to him, or gasp go out with him in fear that he would turn on her like the others once he found out about her ability.  The only reason poor Maddie never called anyone for help when she found her mother face down and passed out was because she feared that CPS would place her in a foster home.  I could greatly appreciate the inner strength this young girl had with how she kept her head above water and never gave up.

The story grabbed my by the heart strings and kept me fixed to the pages when Uncle Donny met with the superintendent and advocated on Maddie's behalf for all the injustice that had befallen her.  I was so happy to see this third party come in and listen to Maddie's story.  That's as far as I will take that statement.  I also would like to add that the ending is pretty spectacular!  I was totally thinking one thing, and the opposite happened, lol...  I have yet to figure out "whodunit" before, so I shouldn't be surprised, but I was pretty damn surprised!!  I totally loved the uniqueness of Maddie's ability, and I can honestly say that I don't have a movie reference for this one........shocker!  Well done Victoria!  Well done :)


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