by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Read: September 15 - 16, 2013
Published: August 29, 2013 by Dial
Category: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Official Summary: 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.
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.