[Review] Victoria Laurie - When

Title: When
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Year: 2015
Pages: 336
My rating: 4/5 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 put this book on my reading list as soon as I read the synopsis in Goodreads. I think it's going to be a nice book to read, and it did! It's been a while since I read a mystery/thriller book so I like how I have to guess the killer. It's not really easy to do so, but I managed to find out just a few chapters before the characters guessed it. And that part is the reason why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 3. 

Since this is the first book of Victoria Laurie that I read, I will judge *smirk* her writing styles without any expectation or even compare this book to her previous books. It was okay, for me. I didn't really feel that flow, my usual vocabulary for books with a good writing styles, but it's not boring or full of typos, too. I don't even notice her writing styles because I was too immersed with the story. Another good point.

For the story...where should I begin? I like the main characters, Maddie. Love some of the characters, Maddie's uncle and neighbor. And even hate one of the characters, Maddie's Ma. The story is pretty realistic to me, even though there are several comments on Goodreads that said otherwise. As someone who didn't live in the States, I guess they knew their country better than me, so I'm not going to argue. Overall I like how the story unfold, and I can't really guess the killer until almost the end of the book. And there's a twist at the end of the book, too. So this is a perfect book for me, story-wise.

And now for the minus part. I usually didn't give any fuss about the author of the books that I read, mostly because I want my reviews to be as objective as possible (only the book, not the author). But this is the second time where I read a bad review about the author of the book that I liked. And I just wanted to make a clear statement, that I still liked this book even though the author might (or not) have said bad words to fellow book reviewer. Her reaction towards the critic is silly and annoying, based on what I read here, but that's not something that I will held against her books. 

Last but not least, I think it's a pretty exciting book to read, especially after reading lots of romance or children's book (yep, I'm talking about myself). I can't really find any good quotes (I'm not paying attention to these *sigh*), but there's this story that's pretty heartwarming for me.

I looked down at our joined hands, and my mind flashed back to a time when I was five and she'd walked me to the bus stop on my first day of school. I'd cried the whole three blocks, and the minute the bus pulled up I'd pressed myself against Ma's legs and I'd sobbed and sobbed. I hadn't stopped until she'd bent down to hug me and I realized the bus had pulled away. "It's okay, baby," she'd said to me. "We'll try again tomorrow."
But the next day was the same. I was terrified to leave her side, and my own petrifying shyness left me feeling like I couldn't possibly board that bus and go off to some faraway place to sit among strangers.
So we tried again on Wednesday, then on Thursday, and finally on Friday, Ma held my hand just like all the days before, but as the bus rolled to a stop she’d squeezed my hand and looked down at me with a bright, hopeful smile. “There’s the bus to take you to school, Maddie. You’ll have all sorts of adventures, and drink milk and have cookies, and draw pictures, and learn new things. But if you’re not brave enough to get on that bus today, then I’ll understand and we’ll go home and try again next week. But if you can do it today, then I’ll be prouder of you than you could know.” I’d then watched the other kids load onto the bus, and after much hopping from foot to foot, I’d had a moment of rare courage and I’d let go. I remembered so clearly the cold feeling of my palm without Ma’s hand to warm it, and still I’d climbed those big steps onto the bus. Avoiding the driver’s watchful gaze, I’d moved to the first empty seat I could find and shuffled to the window to see Ma standing there with hands clasped over her heart and tears streaming down her face. She was beaming with pride, so happy I could feel it all the way through the walls of the bus, and I knew I was worthy and brave.
And now Ma was squeezing my hand, asking me to be patient, and I realized that I’d have to hold on until she was brave enough, too.


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