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There are places where kids like me go. Sad kids, bad kids, bored kids and lonely kids, kids that are different. Any day of the week, if you know where to look, you’ll find us: behind the shops, in back lanes, under bridges by canals and rivers, round garages, in sheds, on allotments. There are thousands of us. If you choose to find us, that is – most people don’t. If they do see us, they look away, pretend we’re not there. It’s easier that way. Don’t believe all that crap about giving everyone a chance – when they see us, they’re glad we’re not in school with their kids, disrupting their lessons, making their lives a misery. The teachers, too. Do you think they’re disappointed when we don’t turn up for registration? Do me a favour, they’re laughing – they don’t want kids like us in their classrooms, and we don’t want to be there. Most hang about in small groups, twos or threes, whiling away the hours. Me, I like to be on my own.

About the book

Since her mother’s death when she was seven, 15-year-old Jem has kept a secret.

When her eyes meet someone else’s, a number comes into her head – the date on which they will die.

Knowing that nothing can last for ever, Jem avoids relationships, until she meets Spider, another outsider, and her life takes a happier turn.

But on their first day out together, waiting in the queue for a ride on the London Eye, Jem realises something terrible is about to happen and her world is about to explode.

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Press reviews

“Utterly compelling.”


“Even the idea of this book gave me chills! ... Creepy and original!”


“Numbers is a high-concept, it-could-go-anywhere idea taken down an unexpected and interesting route ... it is both intelligent and life-affirming. First-time author Rachel Ward is certainly one to watch...”


Author notes

'The idea came to me one morning as I walked my dog in the fields overlooking Bath. Straight away I knew all about Jem – what she looked like, how she spoke, her background … and her gift.'

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