counting by 7s

In YA Book Reviews on October 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm


by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Contemporary Fiction/©2013/378 pages/Stand Alone Book/Recommended for Middle Grades and Above*

Publisher’s Blurb (from Goodreads):

In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

My Thoughts:

Holly Goldberg Sloan has written an incredible book about a devastating loss and how the main character deals with it, and she has done so in such a way that you would never label this as a sad book. In fact, you will find yourself laughing more than crying. Ms. Sloan has created the most amazing bunch of characters. They are your classic misfits, but somehow their individual little quirks work together. I absolutely loved Willow Chance, who has a unique way of looking at the world and possesses some unbelievable talents. I loved how she impacted other people’s lives as she was trying to make sense of her own. This is a very engaging story, well written and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved her writing style, and I can’t wait to read more from her. It almost became my new favorite book. Almost. Being that I worked in education for almost forty years, you can understand that I am slightly offended by how public schools in general and the school counselor in particular are portrayed. That element just did not ring true to me and annoyed me no end. Sorry, but it did. That said, I still highly recommend this. No one should miss out on meeting the phenomenal Willow Chance.

My Rating: 4/5

Awards: A B.E.A. BUZZ BOOK 2013. An Amazon Best Book of the Month. A Junior Library Guild Selection. A Kids Indie Next List #4 on Top Ten Autumn 2013

Similar Books: If you liked this book, you might also like Wonder by E.J. Palacco, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, and Twerp by Mark Goldblatt.

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