Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Teen Menu

It's been a crazy busy month with the RWA National Conference and associated travel. One of the highlights of the conference was seeing Simone Elkeles win the RITA for her young adult novel, Perfect Chemistry, and Erica O'Rourke win the Golden Heart for her YA manuscript, Unchosen.

A consequence of two weeks away from home, time filled to bursting with a conference to-do list, was the fact that I only finished reading one YA novel this month. But it was a good one. Num8ers (yes, it's spelled with an "8" instead of a "b") by Rachel Ward (the author, not the actress) has a bit of a paranormal element to it -- the heroine, Jem, sees the dates of people's deaths when she looks into their eyes -- but that's not really what the book is about. It's more of the story of forgotten and overlooked youths, the kids who have been dealt a really crappy hand in life. Since Jem's mother's death of a drug overdose when Jem was six (an event that led Jem to realize what the numbers meant), she's bounced around from foster home to foster home and never felt like anyone really cared about her. She's built understandable walls around herself, both because of her life situation and the fact that she doesn't want to get close to people when she knows the dates of their deaths every time she looks at them. When you refuse to interact with others, people begin to get certain ideas about who you are as a person, even if those ideas are completely wrong.

Jem's life changes when she meets, befriends and eventually falls for a boy called Spider. He's so full of energy, it's infectious. She tries not to get involved because of his ever-present number, but her efforts prove fruitless. During a day trip in London, Jem foresees a chilling event when she realizes all of the people around her have the same number in their eyes. She grabs Spider and runs, and that choice leads to a chain of events that will have you turning pages and rooting for this most unlikely of couples despite what you suspect may await you toward the end of the book.

Oddly, I'm not a book crier. A movie crier, yes. Book crier, no. Only rarely does a book even make me tear up, but this one did. Added to that is an epilogue that has me eagerly anticipating reading the sequel, Numbers 2: The Chaos, out now.

Learn more about Ward and her books at her website.

Pardon the brief commercial. :) I'm thrilled that my second YA novel, Winter Longing, comes out this Thursday!


  1. Hey, Trish! I have heard some really great things about Num8ers--all good, of course. Thanks for the scoop on it.

    And HUGE CONGRATS on your new release!!! I hope it flies off the shelves!

    It was so good to see you in Orlando! And did I mention what good taste you have in clothes?! ;-)

  2. Wow. Had not heard of this book but I really want to read it now. Thanks for the review.

    Can't wait for your new one!!!! That one, I have heard of...grin...

    Have a good week!


  3. Num8ers sounds fascinating, and I'm looking forward to Winter Longing, Trish. I plan to read it before passing it on to a young cousin who reads almost as much as I do.

  4. LOL! Andrea, you have fabulous taste in clothes as well. :) For those of you who don't have a clue what we're talking about, Andrea and I showed up to the Harlequin party in the same top, just different colors.

  5. Hope you enjoy it, Tami. Thanks for stopping by.

    Thanks so much, Janga. You're very sweet. I hope you and your cousin love it.

  6. I'll have to check this book out!

    And I'll definitely be getting Winter Longing, since I loved your first one. :)

  7. Congrats on your upcoming release, Trish! I'm looking forward to picking up a copy.

    Num8ers sounds very interesting too. So many good books our there. Now I just need to find time to read them all. If anyone figures out how to do that, please let me know! lol

  8. Hey there, Trish!!! It was so good to see you in Orlando! Still grinning over you and Andrea showing up in the same top -- but you both rocked it ;-)

    I was just at the library the other day and found myself talking to the newest employee -- a YA specialist! I asked if she had you in her list of authors, and she said no but that she was going to fix that :-) Congrats on the new release. Such a beautiful cover!!!

  9. Numbers sounds fabulous. I definitely find the concept intriguing. Thanks for giving us the scoop on a good read!

    Congrats on your new release, Trish! Best wishes for tons of success and sales! :)

  10. Thanks again, Trish, for another great recommendation. I will have to look for this one. Like PJ, I'm still trying to figure out how I will find the time to read all of my books. ;-)

    Congrats on your newest release. My niece was thrilled with the copy I got from you in Orlando. I'll definitely be borrowing it.

  11. Trisha, thanks. I'm so glad you liked the first book.

    PJ, I know! It's impossible to read everything I want to.

    Buffie! You are awesome! Thanks so much for mentioning me to the librarian.

  12. Thanks, Sarah. It did have an intriguing premise. My eye is always caught by premises I've not seen before.

    Gannon, I hope your niece likes the book.

  13. Trish, I know she'll love it. She adored Heartbreak River---read it in one sitting! You were the one author she wanted me to get a book from at RWA. :-)

  14. I'll have to check out this book. I had seen the cover and wondered about it.
    There is so much good and great YA fiction out there.

  15. Gannon, that's so awesome. Tell her that I really appreciate it.

    librarypat, I agree. There are so many fantastic YA books out now and more coming out soon. I'm personally counting down the days until Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins comes out.