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RACHEL WARD first won a writers' award at a regional arts festival, and her prize-winning short story turned into the opening chapter of NUMBERS, her breakout debut novel. Its sequel, THE CHAOS, was published in Spring 2011; the trilogy concludes with INFINITY. Rachel lives in Bath, England, with her husband and their two children.
Gr 9 Up-Numbers have a different meaning for 15-year-old Jem: the numbers that pop into her head when she makes eye contact with anyone reveal the day that person will die. Orphaned after her mother's overdose, Jem has been in foster care for years and avoids forming relationships until she meets Spider, another outsider who, despite Jem's efforts, pushes past her self-imposed barriers. A trip to the London Eye ends in disaster when Jem realizes that the tourists waiting in line have the same number and that they are all going to die that very day. Wanted for questioning after fleeing the scene of an apparent terrorist attack, Jem and Spider go on the run-a prospect made all the more daunting for Jem because she knows that Spider's number is up in just a few days. Sarah Coomes brings Rachel Ward's gritty story (Chicken House, 2010) to life with emotion and intensity. She perfectly captures Jem, a teen who hides her pain and loneliness behind a tough girl attitude, and gives Spider his own distinct nuances as well. Jem's emotional growth in the latter half of the book is satisfying, and listeners will be awaiting the sequel even as they are reeling from the twists at the end of this novel.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.