Thursday, March 11, 2010
So I won the book, NUMBERS by Rachel Ward (Scholastic, Chicken House) through Goodreads and finished reading it yesterday. NUMBERS is a gritty, well written novel about two kids from the other side of the tracks who are on the run after a terrorist bombing of the London Eye and are wanted by the police. The twist is that Jem, the girl - and told from her point of view - can see the date of people's deaths when she looks them in the eye. Creepy and unnerving at best, so she avoids eye contact and has been through several foster homes after watching her mother die from a drug overdose when she was seven years old. Consequently, Jem is mad at the world, prickly, doesn't get close to people - until she meets Spider, a boy who also doesn't fit in and is being raised by his grandmother.
I love the premise and the author puts Jem's *talent* into jeopardy when she and Spider are cutting school and hanging around the London Eye. Jem suddenly discovers that several people are about to die - and then the bomb goes off!
The rest of the story is quite exciting as Jem and Spider are on the run from the police and find themselves trying to survive on foot with little food and no place to sleep.
The first 50 pages was a bit slow for me and sometimes the writing is uneven (FYI - there is swearing and a sex scene), but the author has set up a ticking clock and that's what keeps you reading - to find out what is going to happen to these kids and how are they going to survive. One of the most interesting characters was Spider's grandmother who has some kind of *powers* herself and I wanted to know more about HER. Hopefully in the sequel. Even though the ending was sad and bittersweet, there is also HOPE and Jem has come away from this terrible experience and loss a better person. Thank you Chicken House for a great read!
I watched the new Masterpiece Theater production of EMMA by Jane Austen and after the first hour of trying to get into the new actors for Emma and Mr. Knightly (after loving the Kate Beckinsale production for years) I really enjoyed it. The acting was great, the rest of the cast superbly chosen, and I really liked the in-depth screenplay and the extra time devoted to the story development and dialogue and relationships by giving it 3.5 hours. The costuming, homes, countryside, and sets was superb!
My biggest complaint? Mr. Knightly, while a wonderful actor, was just much TOO SHORT! In some scenes, Emma looked taller than he was! They should have put him in risers - at least given him a couple inches more than Emma. Sorry, but I think their scenes together would have been more powerful and have more romantic tension if he'd been taller than she was. I suppose I'm old-fashioned when it comes to that. While his acting was fine, Knightly was just more forgettable. And he's NOT supposed to be!
Off to the library to revise! Manuscript due to Gorgeous Editor in 18 days . . .
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