When by Victoria Laurie


I picked this book up on a whim while browsing at the library. I’ve read a bit of Laurie’s adult fiction. I was intrigued to see how her young adult writing panned out.


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?




For the most part I really enjoyed this book. I never felt the need to put it down. I was pretty eager to read a novel with a character who had a type of psychic power. For some reason I didn’t realize this was a thriller so I was kind of going into this blind. But that worked out for me. I didn’t already have the plot line figured out and I was kinda surprised in where the plot went. The main character, Maddie, has some extreme social anxiety and bad case of guilt. In the opening chapter she talks about the first time she realized what the numbers were due to her dad’s sudden death. ( I don’t really feel like this is a spoiler because it happens within a paragraph or two) Maddie also feels this sense of responsibility and guilt due to her alcoholic mother. Covered in emotional trauma at a young age has made Maddie so anxious that she had to leave Brooklyn and move to a small town and is forced by her mom into doing death day readings for money. The action starts when one of Maddie’s client’s son goes missing on the day Maddie said he would die. The FBI immediately suspect our girl and they refuse to look in other directions. As the plot moves forward more people die, and Maddie is connected to all of them in some way and finally her best friend is dragged onto the suspect list with her. I was so aggrivated with the FBI at first but I can’t say that I would immediately believe someone who told me they had these capabilities. I was scared for Maddie when she starts being followed by the killer. And the ending took me by surprise. Here are some pros and cons:


-Interesting aspect of death day predicting
– Maddie isn’t boring, but layered emotionally with a good intellect.
– The relationship between Maddie and her uncle is pretty great and I loved seeing that unfold.


-Her best friend was annoying to me.  He didn’t have any stand out features and seemed to make things more difficult for Maddie not less
– Stupid/Reckless/ Moronic decision making. It’s one thing for a YA character to be whiny or petulant. They ARE teenagers. But her lawyer uncle would give her a direct order to not do something for HER SAFETY and to protect her within the eyes of the law. Remember she is being investigated as a suspect. Well Maddie and her best friend would decide to do it anyway. I wanted to throttle them. QUIT being that girl in the horror movie who dies.
– There was a bit of the chosen one trope going on. Not because Maddie had powers. But because the way the plot unfolded she would coincidentally discover something or save someone and it was made to seem like only she could’ve saved the day. That got a bit irksome.


I would give this book a 3.75/5 Stars. I would recomend it to anyone who likes YA Mysteries with a bit of the supernatural/paranormal. I would love to chat with anyone who has read this book. Or if you are interested in reading it. I hope you’re having a lovely day!

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3 thoughts on “When by Victoria Laurie

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