When – Victoria Laurie – Disney-Hyperion – Published 13 January 2015
Maddie can see dates. When she looks at people she sees a date imprinted on their forehead. Their death date. It wasn’t until the death of her father that Maddie understood what the dates meant and now she carries the guilt of not understanding sooner. Reading people’s dates is a job Maddie would rather not have, but her mother is happy for a bit of extra income. When Maddie reads for her next client, she predicts the quickly-approaching date of one of lady’s children, and then becomes involved in a murder investigation when the boy disappears. The only problem is that she doesn’t get to be some cool kid helping the police with her skills, but is the main suspect.
Overall, I enjoyed When, more so the last half and particularly the characters of Mrs Matsuda and one of the agents. The book is sweet, although that hardly seems the right word due to how many people are murdered or tortured, but it really was sweet. However, at first I struggled with the concept, a slightly different take on an idea that has been covered before, and in most cases very well done. I also found the writing style hard to connect with. When is written in a very juvenile tone and yet it is clearly a young adult novel. I also found Maddie and Stubs, her best friend, to be annoyingly stupid at times. However, about halfway through the book really picks up the pace and Maddie becomes more actively involved in trying to solve who the real killer is. I thought I had the real killer pegged early on, but was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Juvenile Fiction: Ages 12 and up. Mysteries, Espionage and Detective Stories.