December 6th, 2015 by Karen
When I started reading Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, I didn’t know what it was about. All I knew was it had gotten good reviews from other people. Then I started the book and I was like, “Oh no! What have I gotten myself into?” Because right at the beginning, the main character’s parents die. And not only that, I had trouble connecting with Willow because she’s a unique kid — a genius with no friends and an obsession with plants and medicine.
But soon I got past all that and I was drawn completely into Willow’s world — the same way that the other characters in the book are:
There’s Mai (an older girl Willow is just starting to be friends with), Quang-ha (Mai’s older brother), and Pattie (Mai’s mother). There’s Jairo, a taxi driver who meets Willow by chance. Then there’s Dell, the school district counselor who has been seeing Willow and Quang-ha for only a few weeks before Willow’s parents are in a car crash and everything changes. Suddenly, these people’s lives are totally intertwined as Mai’s family takes in Willow temporarily.
The story is told in alternating viewpoints: Sometimes you’ll hear directly from Willow, but you also see into the thoughts and lives of Dell, Mai, Pattie, and Jairo. I came to love every one of these characters, each with their own personality, flaws, and strengths.
Even though this book obviously isn’t an action adventure, I still found it to be a page-turner. I wanted to see what would happen to Willow and her makeshift support group. I think you can tell I got absolutely invested in these characters and their fates!
I recommend this book for fans of realistic fiction, especially stories about family — whatever form that takes. I especially think you’ll like this book if you enjoyed Three Times Lucky, The Truth About Twinkie Pie, Umbrella Summer, and The Thing About Jellyfish.
Have you read Counting by 7s? Leave a comment with your thoughts or submit your own review!