Tuesday, December 26, 2017

When, by Victoria Laurie (author), Whitney Dykhouse (narrator)

Audible Audio, January 2015

Maddie Fynn is a teenager with a very uncomfortable talent: She can see the death dates of everyone she meets, or sees a picture of, imprinted clearly on their foreheads. As a young child, she had no idea what the numbers meant. Her police officer father's death in a shootout with drug dealers, when she's six years old, is a painful revelation.

It's also the beginning of her mother's drinking.  Her mother's drinking leads to her insisting Maddie read death dates for paying clients, to supplement a shrunken income that can't support both their normal expense's and Mrs. Fynn's drinking. It's not a great life, but not terrible, until children whose death dates she's read start to be murdered, and the FBI decides she looks like a prime suspect.

Leaving out the parts about seeing people's death dates and being suspected of being a serial killer, a lot of Maddie's high school life feels very, very familiar to me. I was the book-smart, shy kid who didn't have a lot of friends. She does, thinks, and feels things that seem very normal to me, which is not always the case with stories focused on high school kids.

She's more grown up than she might be, with a more normal home life, because the difficulties force her to be. At the same time, it's clear there's a lot of love between her and her mother, despite the problems. The character development is good, and the pacing works for me, too. I enjoyed listening to the book.

On the other hand, it's set chiefly in 2014, published in 2014, and in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity, it might as well be set in the 1950s.

Still, an enjoyable book, and worth a listen.

I bought this audiobook.