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You’ve probably heard of a lot of superpowers, like flying, being invisible, or turning into steel. In the captivating novel “When” by Victoria Laurie, Maddie Fynn was born with the power to see everyone’s death date. Maddie grew up without a father and lived with a alcoholic mother. She and her mom made a living by telling clients’ death dates.
One day, a customer named Mrs. Tibbolt came in for Maddie to check her children’s death dates. Like many other children, Maddie and Mrs. Tibbolt assumed that the children would have a long life. However, one of her children, named Tevon, had a death date that’s much sooner–next week. After she learned this news, Mrs. Tibbolt stormed out and believed that Maddie was lying when she claimed she could read people’s death dates. Unable to defend herself, Maddie reluctantly let this thought escape her mind.
Soon enough, the next week arrived. To her surprise, news all over the town was about a teenage boy found dead, body bloodied. His name was Tevon Tibbolt. Maddie panicked and found herself becoming the target of the FBI. Mrs. Tibbolt had informed them that Maddie was responsible for the death. Maddie’s life is jumbled into chaos.
One by one, kids in Maddie’s life began to disappear, then found dead. Maddie and the people close to her worked together to search for the missing puzzle pieces.
With this spooky ability, Maddie wasn’t sure if this is necessarily a good thing at the beginning. From Maddie telling the woman about her son’s death date to the involvement of her best friend in a crime, causing him to go to jail, this story is filled with tension and suspense. The twist at the end makes this a great read.
“When” by Victoria Laurie, Disney-Hyperion, 336 pp.
Age Range: 12-17 years
Grade Level: 7-12