Intro and Plot Overview
When, by Victoria Laurie, is an intense, action-packed book. The main character, Maddie, is up against the FBI because she is suspected of murder and attempted murder. Maddie has a special talent, or curse. She sees death dates. If she were to look at your forehead, she could tell you exactly what day you were going to die, but nothing else about it. She could not tell you how you would die, or where you would die. All she could tell you was a date. This ability is how she and her mother make enough money to pay the rent for her house, making people pay for Maddie to tell them their death date. She had lost her father, a police officer, in a gunfight. That was the day she and the rest of her family figured out what the numbers she saw meant.
One day a lady comes to see her to ask about a daughter who is sick in the hospital. Maddie says to her that her daughter is going to live to a ripe old age, which is true. But, as the lady closes the billfold of pictures, Maddie sees a picture of another of the lady’s children. That boy has a death date that is a lot closer, in fact it was for the next week. When Maddie tells the lady, the lady is very shocked and calls Maddie a fake. The next week the boy goes missing and when the boy is found dead, the woman calls the FBI on Maddie.
Personal Connections and Opinions
I would consider myself a normal teenager. In a lot of ways I’m just like the main character of When. Except I can’t see someone’s death date as I walk past them in the hallway, or as I glance through the yearbook for school. As far as I know this is purely fiction, at least I hope it is. I was recently injured, and couldn’t play in a few volleyball matches. Generally I’m a pretty happy, upbeat person, but that was enough to make me a little sad, mainly frustrated that I couldn’t do anything about it. I would see that the pin was going to hit down the line, and then someone on the court wouldn’t see it until too late and the ball would already be down. That drove me crazy. I am glad to be back now. I can’t imagine if that were my whole life. I would go insane if I saw when people were going to die, and then couldn’t do anything to change it. This book gave me perspective into another person’s mind. While Maddie’s perspective is unique, it is a situation similar to my recent one, and although it isn’t real, I can still learn from her experience. My situation seemed terrible to me at the time, but when I put it in perspective and look at other people’s situation, it makes me grateful to think that’s the worst I go through.