‘Gardenia’ – Kelsey Sutton

Seventeen-year-old Ivy Erickson has one month, twenty-seven days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes, and two seconds to live.

There’s no getting away from the fact that knowing the exact amount of time you have to live would be draining. How do you live your life knowing exactly how long you have left with the people you interact with?

Ivy has become accustomed to seeing the numbers above people’s heads. Their individual countdowns vary, but Ivy is never wrong. This is bad enough, but to know your death date is highly likely to mess with your head.

In some ways this reminded me of Numbers by Rachel Ward, but in Gardenia we have a little more going on. Ivy’s best friend, Vanessa, was murdered and people in her town are convinced Ivy knows something. When more girls disappear, Ivy realises she has to do something. Only, time is running out and every moment counts.

The character of Ivy was quite sane for someone living with such a terrible burden. I liked how part of this focused on her coming to terms with things and how she interacts with people.

I was gripped by this, but I confess to finding the ending rather rushed. I also don’t feel we got any attempt to satisfy our curiosity about exactly what was going on with the numbers.

Anyway, thanks to publishers Diversion and NetGalley for the advance copy.