Source: Classroom library
Length: 384 pages
"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." (Goodreads)
I will be honest: I would not have read Counting by 7s if my coworker, another English teacher, hadn't mentioned how much she loved it. I obviously noticed it as I shelved it in my classroom library, but it didn't jump out at me, screaming to be read. I decided to read it because I trust her recommendations and wow, was she right! This book was amazing!
Counting by 7s is middle grade, but don't let that deter you (if it does). I would not call myself a reader of MG by any means, but I absolutely adored this and it changed my mind about what MG lit can be. I was completely sucked into Willow's story and could have easily read this in one day if I'd had the time. I essentially loved every single thing about this story and wish I could spend more time with the characters.
I also loved Holly Goldberg Sloan's writing style here, which definitely fit with Willow's quirky characteristics. It wasn't like the book was narrated by her, but the third person omniscient just fit so well here. Typically that style does not mesh with me, but not the case!
It's hard for me to explain exactly why I liked this one so much, so just take my word for it. This is a solid, wonderfully written middle grade about the power of family and friendship and finding your people that everyone should read. Quite possibly my favorite book of 2013!