Review of When by Victoria Laurie

Pretty solid cover art.

When by Victoria Laurie. ★★1/2

When was overall okay, but it’s not a book I would recommend to anyone.

Maddie is a sixteen year old girl who can see the day that everyone is going to die as a black number floating above their forehead. Her alcoholic mother makes a bit of money on the side by having Maddie give “readings” for people and telling them when their relatives will pass away. When Maddie predicts the death of a young boy who turns up murdered, she becomes the central suspect in a police investigation.

On the plus side, this book was very low on romance! While it does contain the mandatory hot guy, he has hardly any presence in the book. This is a breath of fresh air for the YA genre!

Somewhat relatedly, it was nice that Maddie had a male best friend and that the book never went into the “of course there’s romantic tension, men and women can never be just friends!” territory. Normally “male best friend” is code for “love interest in waiting,” but When thankfully decided to focus on the friendship.

Maddie was a very typical sixteen year old girl – meaning she didn’t actually do much. She deals with the stress of being under a police investigation and her mother’s alcoholism, but she doesn’t play much of a role in the investigation of who actually killed the boy. In short, she’s no Nancy Drew. This is realistic but not very interesting.

I also had reasons to question her decisions, which often involved holding back information from her attorney uncle or the authorities. A lot of the time Maddie didn’t seem to have a good reason for it, and this felt like the plot required her to be stupid.

The writing style is simple and direct. It isn’t beautiful, but it’s functional. I have no qualms in that area.

When‘s biggest flaw is that it’s forgettable. There’s nothing about this book that will stick in my memory, besides perhaps the initial idea of knowing the day people die. In a month’s time, I will likely be unable to recall I read it.

I don’t feel this book is worth recommending.

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