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Numbers (Numbers #1)

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,398 Ratings  ·  2,258 Reviews
Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But whil
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Chicken House/Scholastic Inc. (first published November 8th 2008)
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Dreamlina Why does everyone keep saying that this book was not that good? Did you all keep setting your expectations too high? I don't listen to opinions on…moreWhy does everyone keep saying that this book was not that good? Did you all keep setting your expectations too high? I don't listen to opinions on books before I read them, that way I'm not already biased when I do. This book was almost exactly what I'd expected from it. A girl with a super power finds out that the love of her life is going to die. That's basically what happened. I may be crazy, and don't know ya'll that well, but the ending of the book was SO meaningful. Maybe it touched me more than it should've, but I knew from the start- SPOILER ALERT that Spider was going to die and that there was nothing anyone could do about it. I just didn't know how. The scene played in my head like a slow-motion part of a movie. Spider about to climb off a wet slippery surface, high above the ground. He was being careless, constantly moving like he always does. He slips and falls off, and dies. I may not be making a valid point to some of you, but it REALLY seems like after reading your comments, that a few of you didn't actually finish the book and get to what really makes this book feel like 4-5 stars. It ties it all together in one big emotional ball far better then something like the fault in our stars could ever do, (for me at least) and throw the book into a wall. Btw, I do realize that this question was asked 8 months ago, but I couldn't help it but share my opinion. PLEASE GIVE THIS BOOK (AND THE SERIES) A SECOND CHANCE! D:(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 15, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2011
Numbers is yet another victim of misleading marketing. Everything about this book's packaging - the cover, the blurb - screams Sci-Fi! Saving the world! Action! Angsty love! No wonder every negative review of it I've read says - Well, I expected Numbers to be this, but it turned out to be that, so I am totally disappointed.

Let me tell you what this novel actually is about. Numbers is a story of two poor, rough British kids who find themselves on the run when, thanks to Jem's ability to see every
Ruth Belano
Dec 17, 2014 Ruth Belano rated it did not like it
Review before finishing the book:

I am so sorry to my friend who willingly spent her money just to buy me this disappointing book for Christmas. When I read the overview, I was like, "This is going to be a great book!", and so, I spent months craving for this book because I don't have the time to buy and read it, until my oh so good friend gave it to me as Christmas gift. I was so excited to read it!! but...

It.was.horrible. The plot was just so irrelevant to the supposed main idea of the book. Th
Emily May
Jun 16, 2011 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi, 2011
I was pleasantly suprised by this book, I really liked the story and the exploration of the underclasses and labelling in society. The questions asked about the current justice system in Britain and whether or not the police are simply looking for a likely candidate to blame, are often a question faced in reality. The exploration of racial issues also gives insight into a dark world where the police see a black boy (or girl, but less so) automatically as a criminal or at least a suspect.

The plot
Aug 22, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Ward has written a really dirty and gritty novel here, one that will stick with me for a while...the ending was packed with a very sad punch...and the last few sentences really left me wanting Numbers 2, The Chaos!

So while, I was sure in the beginning this novel was NOT one I would like, thinking I would never finish it, in the end it's a 4 mushroom book for me! A book that reminded me that, while it might take a while, you need to give a book a just might turn out to be somet
Annie Z
Jan 24, 2012 Annie Z rated it did not like it
Reading this book was agonising.

I wanted to like it so much. Jem’s ability is great. The message of the novel is interesting. The concept holds so much promise, but gets seriously bungled up due to the shoddy writing, silly characters and insipid plot.

I didn’t like the writing—it felt kind of messy to me. In my opinion, the story is told in a very dull way. I don’t know, it had the potential to be interesting, but it fell flat in that area.

And the characters! They are such complete idiots! Jem
Jun 17, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, blog
Jem has an unusual gift--when she looks people in the eye, a set of numbers pops into her head. When she was younger, she thought nothing of this. However, when her mother dies of an overdose, the numbers suddenly make sense to 6 year old Jem: the numbers are the month, day, and year on which the person in question will die.

Now 15 years old, Jem has lived a tough life in inner-city London. Shuffled from foster home to foster home and understandably withdrawn and guarded because of her secret, Je
Mar 16, 2011 Kaisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't enjoy this book at all.

Not because of the writing or... a lack of talent from the author's side. No. I just hated the characters so much that I couldn't help but feel tortured throughout the story.
I mean, if you don't like the characters, you're doomed to dislike the book in general.

Alright, let me try to explain this without being rude.
The main characters are so dumb, that the only people I sympathized with in this story were the police chasing them.
There simply isn't a real reason for
I've been going back and forth on how I wanted to rate this book, and I'm still not sure it's worth a full three stars, but that's what it's going to get from me at least for right now. I guess I was expecting something more… maybe different from Numbers by Rachel Ward. It wasn't really creepy, dramatic, suspenseful nor intriguing at any grand or significant scale. The story just shifted my suspended reality from here to there with no consistent path or flow, but I never really lost interest, so ...more
Jul 17, 2011 Caris rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, young-adult
Bah. I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes now trying to figure out how to word this. I give up. Pretend I just wrote something clever.

The story bored me. A girl can see anyone’s date of death by looking into their eyes. Because of this, her life sucks. But then she meets a dude and she wants to change everything. It’s some combination of cliché horror movie and cliché YA novel. To its credit, the book doesn’t shy away from “adult” themes (sex, drugs, etc.), but it doesn’t do much with them.
Jun 02, 2011 Zoe rated it did not like it
Okay, so, usually, I try to be nice about reviewing a book, because writing a novel is hard, but I did not like Numbers. Like, at all.

I thought it was a really cool idea, that Jem could see the date of people's deaths, but I feel like that wasn't really the most important part of the plot.

It was like, "hey, this girl and her boyfriend are on the run from the police, even though they really didn't do anything wrong, but since they were suspiciously running from the scene before a terrorist attac
Aug 01, 2011 Megan rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Numbers is the story of Jem; a fifteen year old girl who has spent over half her life orphaned and bounced from family to family in the foster care system. Therefore, it almost goes without saying that she is a troubled girl with issues a plenty. In addition to the crap load of, well crap life has piled on her; Jem sees a number whenever she looks someone in the eye. That number is always there, always the same, and it is the date that person will die. As a result, Jem grows up learnin ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Hussey
Dec 21, 2013 Andrea Hussey rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I think you have to take the book synopsis with a little grain of salt. I went into this thinking it was going to be sort of post-apocalyptic, with this huge cataclysmic event that Jem knows is coming, and that it was going to be all about that. Really, though, it's all about Jem. The attack is fairly small, comparatively, and really is more a catalyst for the action, and not the action itself. It's a story of self-discovery as much as anything.
And I didn't find this a bad thing.

The book is m
I am so disappointed with this book. I’ve been looking forward to reading it for a few months now but for me, it just fails to deliver.

The concept of the novel is interesting: Jem, our 15 year old narrator, is able to see the date that someone is going to die once she looks them in the eye. This idea alone made me want to read this book, but now that I’ve finished it, it just feels flat.

Ward’s writing is good but the plot felt very thin and it feels like she has bulked the book up with unnecessa
Aug 28, 2012 Nyx rated it liked it
This book had a promising plot, as one would know from reading not only fellow reviews, but also the plot, so what went wrong?


Well, A LOT OF THINGS did. I liked the fact that Ward strayed from stereotypical girl and hot bad boy guy falling in love, but still, this book took running away to a whole new level it just makes me
(view spoiler)

What's up with that?!? The heroin was reckless, impulsive,
Amanda (Born Bookish)
I was torn with whether I even wanted to finish reading this book or not. One minute I had decided that I wasn’t going to read it anymore and then I would decide that I wanted to see how things played out. I went back and forth, back and forth the whole book.

I was really intrigued by the whole plot of this book. A girl who sees the date someone is going to die whenever she looks into his or her eyes. Why can she see this? What does she do about it? How does she deal with it? I was interested to
Jul 24, 2012 Susana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, para-troca, 2012
One and a half stars would be the ideal for this book.
I thought this one, was a big, waste of time and money, mess. The first hundred pages were painful to read. Dialogues in "street talk" is not my idea of a good book. Because the dialogue just doesn't "flow". I don't care if Jem and Spider are fifteen years old, and if that is a way to ilustrate their social background. I understand it, but i don't have to like reading it.
In fact it became painful to do it.
But i'm more than thirty years old.
Jackie "the Librarian"
If you could know the date you were going to die, would you want to know?
In a just slightly different now, Jem is a moody teenager in the foster system in London. Her mom was a junkie who died of an overdose. She’s been moved from school to school, and in fact cuts school regularly. She has no friends, and avoids people. But that’s not why she’s a moody loner. Sort of like the kid from The Sixth Sense, Jem doesn’t exactly see dead people, she sees numbers. When she looks someone in the eye, she
Mar 20, 2015 Ariana marked it as to-read
The idea reminds me still of this video:

I remember thinking that I would've loved to see it as a movie or a book back then ;))
As for this book, there are so many conflicting opinions, maybe I'll give it a try one day and see it for myself.


Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Booklikes | Blog (RO)
Mar 10, 2013 Casandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw this book I couldn't wait to read it.When I started reading it I was really disappointed.I thought that it will be really interesting with Jem's creepy abilities,but it was just boring.I didn't like the characters(I liked Britney,but she was suspiciously kind) and neither the action.Jem and Spider were just running and hiding and I think that it could be more exciting if someone was following them.Actually they were followed by everyone...
When I reached the middle of the book I
Jen (The Bookavid)
Feb 11, 2015 Jen (The Bookavid) rated it did not like it
Originally Published On My Review Blog

In "Numbers" by Rachel Ward, we meet Jem Marsh, who has a very special gift: She can see the date her opposite will die whenever she looks at them. When she notices that a bunch of people have the same date written in their eys, she realizes that she's in the middle of a mass murder situation. Jem walks straight into a terrorist attack. Obviously, the terrorists aren't so happy about someone predicting their plans.

I could not get into this novel, even though
Julie H.
Apr 17, 2011 Julie H. rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Num8ers is the unlikely love story of Jemma (a.k.a. Jem) and Terry (a.k.a. Spider, nicknamed for his constant and ungainly motion). Jemma is a child of the foster care system who at age six found her mother's dead body after a heroin overdose. All her life, she has learned not to form attachments because the people she loves either don't love her in return or they all leave. Jem goes through life making as little eye contact and no physical contact whatsoever with the people around her. This is ...more
Feb 06, 2011 Camilla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, own
Just by glancing into someone's eyes, Jem can see the date of when that person will die. She has been dealing with this all her life, and she always feels the constant dread of knowing when someone's life ends; it could be in the matter of years, or days. She knew when her mother was going to die; 10/10/2001, and when that day came around the corner, her mother died of an overdose. Now, she lives with her foster mother and two little brothers, Jem keeps to herself and rejects anyone who tries to ...more
Eliora Vespera
Jul 14, 2010 Eliora Vespera rated it liked it

"While I existed, the number existed. I was the number and the number was me."

You'd think that Jem is just the ordinary wallflower, the kind that skips the class and avoid social structures. The kind that would grow up just like her failure mother, a junkie who never cared about her own daughter.

It's true Jem doesn't understand most people, but the real reason why she avoids people (specifically eye contact) is because that she sees a set of numbers. At first whe
What pushed this book from 3 to 4 stars for me, is the dark and gritty subtext going on here between the lines. Jem's and Spider's world is not a kind one -- their story represents all those underprivileged, disenfranchised kids who fall through the cracks to end up working dead-end jobs, addicted to drugs, serving time, or dead. It's not a pretty picture, and while Ward is writing from a clearly British perspective, I feel it's not all that different in Canada either -- born into poverty, drugs ...more
Stefanie Hasse
„Du bist eine Zeugin, Jem. Du bezeugst die Tatsache, dass wir alle sterblich sind. Dass unsere Tage gezählt sind, dass uns zu wenig Zeit bleibt.“
„Aber das weiß doch sowieso jeder.“
„Wir wissen es, aber wir schieben es lieber beiseite – es ist so schwer, damit zurechtzukommen. […] Wir ziehen es vor, den Tod zu vergessen.“
(S. 321)

Wenn Jem jemandem in die Augen sieht, sieht sie eine 8-stellige Zahl. Schon als sie klein war, hat sie diese Zahl gesehen. Aber erst am Todestag ihrer Mutter
Jun 02, 2012 Mafi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, emprestados
3,5 é a pontuação correcta.

Em Números- Luta contra o tempo conhecemos a vida de Jem, uma adolescente de 15 anos que desde que se lembra, quando vê uma pessoa, não importa a idade dessa, vê um número. esse número que vê é a data em que a pessoa vai morrer. Ela sempre viu os números mas nunca se tinha apercebido o significado destes; apenas quando a sua mãe morreu é que conseguiu decifrar o enigma dos números.

Claro que tudo isto é um grande fardo para Jem, que não consegue lidar com esta pressão
Katelin R
Nov 19, 2012 Katelin R rated it it was amazing
I would recommend the book “Numbers” by Rachel Ward to a friend because the book has a very unique and engaging plot. In the beginning of the book Jem (one of the main characters) says, “There are places were kids like me go. Sad kids, bad kids, kids that are different. Any day of the week, if you know were to look you’ll find us.” (1) This part of the book really hooked me. I wanted to know more about the main character. Will he/ she get into a lot of trouble? Why is he/she bad and sad? Also i ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Trisha rated it did not like it
Well, I'm not sure how I should even begin on this excuse of a book.

*Note: what I'm saying is my personal opinion, and I might be extremely harsh on this book.

Firstly, I must comment on the overall "feel" of the book. Before reading "Numbers," I had this almost science-fiction feel, and I thought it was going to be an interesting book about how she uses this superpower for interesting ways.

Instead, I get this crude tone of gangsters and drug addicts talking all the time, and rude, offensive Jem,
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Rachel Ward...

Other Books in the Series

Numbers (3 books)
  • The Chaos (Numbers, #2)
  • Infinity (Numbers, #3)

Share This Book

“You get use to someone—start to like them, even—and they leave. In the end, everyone leaves.” 340 likes
“Life's not that simple. Not so easy to move on when the anger you've got is what keeps you going.” 82 likes
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