When: Is Seeing Death a Gift, or a Curse?



Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

336 Pages
Disney-Hyperion Publishers
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015
Get a copy here!


Quick Reasons: great mystery/thriller; love the little plot twists thrown in throughout; another awesome take on this idea; great murder mystery/contemporary, with just a small flair of paranormal thrown in for flavor; endearing characters and heart-warming relationships; some “mature” themes

This is the second take on this idea I’ve read in the last few weeks. I was worried, going in, that I might be in for something akin to the last book I read that broached this subject. I shouldn’t have been–the two books are different in every possible way, and I enjoyed both equally.


This was only SLIGHTLY similar to the last book I read that had the same plot idea. And by that, I mean just the main idea–seeing people’s death dates–is similar. The approach to the subject, and the ways the authors handled the world-building around the idea, are totally different. And I ADORE how Victoria Laurie handled it in this book–the world-building is believable and well-done. I especially loved all the little plot twists she slipped in throughout the read; there were several times I found myself wondering about certain plot points that hadn’t been touched on yet (for instance, whether the main character knew her OWN death date) only to, much further down the line, find it come up in the text.

The characters are endearing and entertaining. I especially loved the focus the relationships, and how they played such key roles in the events of this story. There were several interesting plot twists that also revolved around these relationships, which made these characters more relatable and human in my mind. Aside from this, they’re well-rounded and complex…and it’s SO easy, as a reader, to empathize with and understand them.


This is, overall, a contemporary murder/mystery/thriller…with just a LITTLE bit of magical realism (or something akin to it) thrown in for flair. There is also very little romance–while the main character DOES have a crush on a boy throughout most of this read, the focus on that crush is minimal, and it never once gets in the way of the main plotline. In fact, even at the end, there’s only a small mention of what COULD be–in the future. I really appreciated this in this book–the focus remained where it was meant to, on the mystery. I tip my hat to Victoria Laurie for that especially.

In the end, I had a ton of fun learning about this world, and the way the plot idea works in Victoria Laurie’s version. The characters are well-rounded and complex, the relationships are heart-warming and realistic, and the mystery is filled with delicious twists and turns. I recommend this to lovers of thrillers, who dun its, and “psychically sensitive” characters. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, needing to know what happened next… Pick up this book, penguins–let it surprise you!

4 thoughts on “When: Is Seeing Death a Gift, or a Curse?

  1. I love your reviews for a number of reasons, the cute penguin graphics, the neat not as well known books, the thoroughness and analysis of the books, etc. But one of the things I really love is the song links as I have found a number of new people and songs from you!

    Liked by 1 person

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