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Book Review: Counting by 7s

August 11, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
From Miss Caroline at Main Library

With oodles of new books coming out these days, it seems almost as hard to find something good to read as it would be if there were no new books! If you’re looking for the next great book to read, but don’t know where to start, look no further than Counting by 7s, a story that kind of defies a short and sweet synopsis (but I’ll try anyway!).

Newly orphaned Willow has never fit in, and starting public school may not be the best place to attempt it, but with the help of school counselor Dell, unlikely friend Mai, and even more unlikely friends Quang-ha and Pattie (Mai’s older brother and mother) and taxi driver Jairo, Willow finds a place of her own. As confusing as that sounds, just throw in a little Vietnamese, some strange genius obsessions (including growing plants, diagnosing various medical conditions, and counting by 7s), and a few missteps toward the new normal, you’d have this book wrapped up nicely. Really!

I very much enjoyed the variety of multicultural and multigenerational characters, all of which were instrumental in allowing Willow to heal and to progress to the point where not only are those other characters changing her, but she’s changing them, too. Maybe not the feel-good book of the year, Counting by 7s certainly is an interesting and thought-provoking read that will leave readers thinking about it long after it has been finished (just like it did for me). I would recommended for children ages 10 & up.

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