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  • Writer's pictureKaty L. Wood

Book Review: When

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Warnings: Poor depiction of mental illness, alcoholism.

This was one I was pretty excited about, because I remember reading the first chapter before. (Maybe as a short story on tumblr? Maybe a free preview of the book? I can't quite recall, but I know I did read it somewhere.) So when I spied it in the bookstore and read the back cover, I knew I had to read the whole thing. Unfortunately, it didn't end up as good as I had hoped.

When follows Maddie Flynn, a girl who can see the date people will die written on their foreheads, as she gets caught up in a murder case. As children start to go missing in her town, children connected to people who have come to her to be told their death-dates and the death-dates of their loved ones, suspicion lands on Maddie and her best friend Stubs. The police refuse to believe that Maddie can really see death-dates and things get increasingly worse for Maddie and her friend throughout the book.

I think my biggest problem with the book was that the death-dates weren't important. It's supposed to be this big, defining thing but you could've changed it to just about anything else--even something non-psychic--and the plot of the book would've been 95% the same. On top of that, the whole thing was very generic and predictable. The cops were assholes, the town turned against Maddie almost overnight, Maddie struggled with everything on top of dealing with her alcoholic mother, there were a lot of potential bad-guys that looked bad but in the end it's the person you'd "never suspect," etc. Obviously crime novels are going to be generic to an extent, but there's a point where it's to generic and When certainly falls into that category. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't all that interesting either. It might be a nice weekend read if you're looking for something on the lighter side, but otherwise it isn't really one I'd recommend.


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