Monday, August 11, 2014

Counting By 7s - Holly Goldberg Sloan

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. (Summary and image from

My Review:  Counting by 7s is the first book I’ve read in a long time that has actually got me itching to write a review.   The funny thing about taking a blogging hiatus is that you think you’re going to have all this free time to, I don’t know, count daisies or something, take walks in the sunshine with your children, maybe even squeeze in a nap or two, but life doesn’t usually work out that way.  For a variety of reasons, I’m busier than ever, and while reading for sanity’s sake has always been a priority, reviewing has not.  I’ve mostly been plowing through uninspiring chick lit just to make it through the day, and haven’t had anything remarkable to say, but this book – this book is worth dusting off the laptop.

Willow is a twelve year old prodigy with an insatiable intellect and an intense desire to make sense of the world around her.  She is endearing, meticulous, and straight  up awkward and – as is so often the case with the incredibly brilliant – is nearly incapable of fitting in with her fellow classmates.   I was riveted by her unique, often amusing perspective, and all the rest of Sloan’s well-crafted characters.  Reading them felt like home – a completely different home than I’ve ever experienced, but home nonetheless.  

Early on in the story, Willow suffers an earth-shattering loss that leaves her reeling, somewhat homeless, and struggling to find new ways to cope with a life she never imagined.  You’d think that reading a book that deals with such profound heartache would be depressing, but it was rather moving and strangely cathartic, as if, throughout the course of the story, our hearts were shredded and healed together.   I highly recommend this book to any and all readers, as a subtle lesson in acceptance, love, and how to appreciate the beauty of our differences. 

For the sensitive reader:  Read on.

My Rating:  5 Stars

1 comment:

CarrieM said...

LOVED this book! Thanks for the great review!


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