With only a month to live, high school senior Ivy investigates her best friend’s murder.
Ivy secretly sees countdown clocks floating above people’s heads that reveal the time left before they die. Ivy believes “the numbers don’t lie,” making her predicted death, within months of her best friend Vanessa’s, inevitable. But Ivy can’t help but hope she will be able to somehow intervene and save Vanessa before her countdown ends. Instead, in a moment of self-pity and self-sabotage, Ivy kisses Vanessa’s boyfriend—and is caught by her own boyfriend, Myers. During the ensuing chaos, the girls separate, leaving a frantic Ivy searching for Vanessa, whose body is later found in the woods. After two months, the investigation has stalled while Ivy is nearly paralyzed by guilt, longing for Myers, and fear about her own death. But when she concludes solving the crime could be her salvation, her knowledge of her own time of death becomes an asset by encouraging bold investigative tactics. Plenty of red herrings lend plausibility to Ivy’s occasionally wild suspicions about community members. And when Ivy begins receiving death threats—made credible by her own ticking clock—readers will anticipate and dread the climax. Though Ivy’s small town is not at all-white one, her immediate circle seems to be.
Ivy’s investigation is suspenseful, but the narrative also offers unexpected emotional and philosophical depths that emerge from her musings about the nature of life, death, and personal legacy. (Thriller. 14-18)