Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 13, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
Pretty Little Liars meets Medium in this fast-paced thriller and fantastic YA debut from a New York Times bestselling author
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 maybe connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?
Welcome to my new feature Up Late With Kate where I share the latest midnight read that keeps me reading past the witching hour! Light that candle, grab a chair, and prepare to read all night!
Staying up late reading something isn’t too unusual for me. I often do that thing where I kind of lie to the Hubs and say that I’m having trouble sleeping, but what I really want to do is read past my bedtime. It’s rare for me to stay up SUPER late finishing a book these days though, but that’s what I did with Death Date.
I really connected with main character, Maddie. Her gift of being able to read everyone’s death date is both awesome and horrible. Her ability to see the day people die, or will die, on their foreheads even extended to photographs. I will admit, though, the entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking how if the FBI were smart they’d sick her on a bunch of missing people cases. At least the families would know if their loved ones were still alive somewhere. And I’m guessing that Maddie knows if Elvis is really dead or not.
So back to events that actually happen in the book and not just in my head: Maddie’s ability to know people’s death dates is discovered when she’s a little girl, in a most tragic way. Her father dies on the date she had written on a picture. Her mom, previously a good mother and nurse, spirals down into depression and alcoholism which eventually leads to her pimping out her daughter’s talent. Still, Maddie manages. She takes care of her mom and in return she has good friend Stubby and kindly neighbor Mrs. Duncan.
All of that changes when a client, Mrs. Tibbolt comes in for a reading. Her young daughter is battling cancer and she’s considering a drug trial. Maddie says that her daughter’s death date is still some 80 years in the future, but then spies a picture of Mrs. Tibbolt’s other two children. And upon seeing that middle son Tevon has about a week to live, Maddie tries to warn her. At this poing Mrs. T loses her shiz and accuses Maddie of fraud. Mads is upset, but of course, used to this kind of reaction. At sweet bff Stubby’,s request, Maddie even calls Mrs. Tibbolt in an effort to get the woman to believe her, but it misfires.
Then Tevon disappears. Maddie has no idea what has happened to him, only that his death date confirms he’s dead. For some reason, the FBI are called in immediately on the case (I guess because the parents are rich? Usually the local cops would handle this, but I love any books containing FBI agents so I’ll let it go). Tevon’s mom pretty much accuses Maddie of harming her son, and it’s clear that the FBI agents don’t believe Maddie. Everything spirals down from there. Always a bit of an outsider, now Maddie is bullied daily, by teachers as well as by classmates. Her mother’s drinking only puts Maddie in more harm’s way, and it’s only through the help of her Uncle Donny, who’s a lawyer, that Maddie isn’t arrested. It felt a bit like a witch hunt, and I was constantly worried about Maddie.
More kids disappear, and Stubby pays a price for being friends with Maddie. There’s a few red herrings, and the killer surprised me a bit, although the killer’s reasoning for the murders was appropriately serial killer-esque. I stayed up so late (almost 3am) because I just couldn’t wait for certain scenes to unfold (my Midnight Moment was definitely when Maddie finally finds a way to show her talent in action for Agent Faraday, although it was a long time coming!). There’s even a bit of a romance, in the form of Aiden, whom Maddie crushes on from afar. Also, I know it mentions Pretty Little Liars in the summary, and with no real disrespect meant to PLL, it’s not shallow and silly like the PLL book I read (which was only the first one), I would just say it reminded me more of Lois Duncan’s The Third Eye. So maybe a YA cross of Medium and Criminal Minds.
Death Dates gets a Midnight Book Rating of: