If you could know the date of your death, would you?
For Maddie, there's no choice: For her whole life, she's had the ability to see the date of anyone's death, hovering just over the forehead. But her gift hasn't helped her much—it didn't prevent her police-officer father from being killed in the line of duty, and it hasn't stopped her grief-stricken mother from descending into alcoholism. Now, Maddie does her best to blend in, uses her ability to make some extra money for herself and her mother, and spends time with her best friend, Stubs. But then a client's son disappears and is later found dead on the date that Maddie predicted he would die. Suspicion falls squarely on Maddie, especially when another teenager is murdered in similar fashion—and Stubs becomes caught up in the investigation too. The tension inexorably mounts as Maddie faces heartbreaking choices. Readers will root for Maddie not only to find the killer, but to gain a little happiness, too. Laurie's debut for teens is quite an accomplishment: Maddie's voice rings true, and her character development is handled well. Some adult characters are less well-rounded, yet the compelling plot overcomes these flaws.
The character development is just as riveting as the plot in this well-constructed thriller. (Paranormal thriller. 12-18)