Ros Baxter and Amy Andrews are both talented and prolific writers in their own right but when they write together they create pure magic. The two wrote Sister Pact back in 2012 and I loved it, knowing that I would always read a collaboration of these two beautiful minds.
Numbered is not the sequel to Sister Pact that I was so looking forward to, it is a completely different book and a new kind of beautiful – heart shatteringly beautiful.
Poppy Devine is a mathematician whose field is the algorithms of internet dating, human connection and compatibility. She knows her type and the cute guy she meets at the hospital cafeteria is certainly not it.
Poppy believes in logic and being prepared so I guess it really isn’t too much of a stretch that she has pulled out the bucket list she prepared years earlier with her best friend Julia before she even has the results of the tests on her breast.
Poppy is a 29yr old woman who carefully considers her options and makes decisions based on logic so it is a little out of character when she invites the cute guy behind the counter who just challenged her to take a risk along for an early morning sky dive; and embarked on a whole new way of life.
Numbered had some fantastically funny moments and it is a wonderfully well written tale of making every moment count but more than anything else it shattered me, into a million tiny pieces on more than one occasion.
Poppy is a vibrant young woman in the prime of her life and it is brutally unfair that she should be hit with a cancer diagnosis that defies treatment and soon becomes terminal. Cancer is a cruel disease and it’s never fair, most people have been touched in some way by cancer whether personally or in their wider circle. It is a disease that does not discriminate; it doesn’t care if you are healthy and take care of yourself or if you drink, smoke and party hard. Increasingly it also does not care if you are young or old.
Numbered takes us on a painful journey as Poppy works her way through her bucket list, complete with a couple of items that she never even dreamed of. Poppy knows what is coming but she never gives up and she never loses her vibrant zest for life. Sharing in her journey are best friend Julia, who has been by her side and shared everything with her since the day they met when they started boarding school at 11; Quentin, the cute cafeteria guy who snaked his way under Poppy’s skin and also Poppy’s mother Scarlett.
The story is written in the third person so we don’t really get right inside anyone’s head but I think we get more of an insight into Quentin and Julia than we do Poppy. We don’t really get to see what this is doing to her emotionally but she tries her hardest to keep everything positive, there is to be no soppy talk and no lovey dovey-ness, no sadness; she is determined to make the most of all the time she has and to create wonderful memories.
If I start to think about the logistics I start to come up with lots of questions but if I just enjoy the book I can let go of them. The four leads are an unlikely bunch but the more we get to know them, they aren’t quite as different as they first seem.
Julia and Poppy have always been a team, it’s been the two of them against the world, so it is quite difficult for her to share.
The beauty of this book is in the journey to make the most of every day; to do the things you have always wanted to do and stop waiting for the perfect time because you never know when you will be out of time. It also shows us that the imperfect match that you would usually have passed by, may actually be the one.
I cried, I cried a lot, and I had to put the book down and walk away from it a couple of times because it shattered me but at the same time it was divinely beautiful and I am richer for having read it.
Numbered is book #75 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.