Thursday, October 3, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Read: September 15 - 16, 2013
Published: August 29, 2013 by Dial
Source: BEA
Category: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Official Summary: In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, 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.


Counting by 7s is about one 12 year old girl who loses her parents in a tragic car accident and the unexpected people that reach out to support her. This delightful and endearing story had the wondrous and tragic ability to make me both laugh out loud and cry, often at the same time. 

Willow Chance is a genius, obsessed with her garden and diagnosing medical conditions. But she has trouble relating to others, especially kids her own age. She's misunderstood by her teachers and shunned at school, and yet she's always felt secure in the love of her parents. When that is suddenly taken away from her, she feels completely lost and unmoored in the world. 

This book is one of those painful paradoxes when someone's personal tragedy is the catalyst for a wonderful change in their life. When Willow's adoptive parent's die in a car crash, she has nowhere to go and no one left who understands her. But that event is what eventually connects her into the world around her, and especially to an odd and mismatched family that comes together to support her. I love the 'family' that crops up around Willow. Their coming together happens slowly, and sometimes hilariously.  The individuals aren't all willing participants at first, some of them seem like they're in it for themselves, some are just along for the ride, but that just made the plot even sweeter. I want to talk about them all more specifically, but a lot of the fun is discovering them for yourself, so I've decided to not say any more. 

If you want an uplifting book in the face of tragedy. A story that will make you laugh through your tears. A book filled with quirky characters, including a girl genius, who discovers that she is stronger and  that people are better than she ever imagined, don't miss Counting by 7s. It will make you thankful for the important people in your life. 

Love Triangle Factor: N/A
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone

P.S. I know this is a shorter review than usual. I was going to pair it with another, but decided to let it just stand on its own.


  1. I read this author's debut and though I loved the plot and subject matter, I still struggled to connect with her characters because of the writing. I'm hesitant to pick this up for the same reason, but it sounds very different from her debut and I think I may enjoy it more. Either way, I'll be giving this a shot and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Wonderful review, Lauren!

    1. I actually don't even know what else this author has written. That's terrible of me! But I can't speak to how this book compares at all. I loved all of the characters, but I wouldn't call this book a deeply character driven book. This one was just delightful and made me smile, and it served its purpose well.

  2. This sounds like a fantastic book Lauren, I love a story that is tragic and hopeful at the same time. Even though I fear crying in books, I always end up loving the books that make me cry more than the ones that don't, so I'm excited to meet Willow and the new mismatched family she finds in the wake of her foster parents' deaths. Absolutely beautiful review my friend!

    1. Don't be scared of this one, Jenny! It's way more hopeful than tragic. But this poor girl loses all of her family in a car accident and has to work through that, but the author writes it in a way that will swell your heart. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

  3. I'm with Jenny -- I fear crying in books even though I usually end up loving them. Usually. And this book's gotten some pretty stellar reviews, I must say.

    1. This book is GOOD! And it's not really sad. Or well it is in parts, but I promise that it will make you smile and laugh as well!

  4. I've so far only heard good things about this book and that's really making me want to read it. Books that deal with such heavy topics like this one always tend to affect me emotionally (if done properly) so reading them can be difficult. I'm glad you liked this one Lauren, great review :)
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

    1. This book does deal with a heavy topic, but it's focused more on the ope that comes after. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  5. Hmmm... I haven't really been interested in this one until now! You always make me want to read books that were previously not on my radar in the least. I don't like really sad books but you won me over with this sentence: "This book is one of those painful paradoxes when someone's personal tragedy is the catalyst for a wonderful change in their life." Sounds really good based on that statement alone!


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