Read Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Online


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 cWillow 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....

Title : Counting by 7s
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780803738553
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Counting by 7s Reviews

  • TheBookSmugglers
    2019-03-18 14:29

    Original review posted on The Book Smugglers Warning: this review contains spoilersIt is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when I fell out of love with Counting by 7s but it happened slowly yet inexorably in the hours after I finished reading it.On the surface, this is an innocuous book, full of good intentions: it is a book featuring different stories about diverse PoC characters (including its protagonist). It is also a beautiful story about different kinds of families, about deep connections that can be formed between people from different walks of life and above all, it is about surviving adversity. It is a touching story that made me laugh and that made me cry. But it also made me ponder and question its main message.Counting by 7s’ main character is Willow Chance, a little girl who has lost two sets of parents in her short life – she never knew her blood parents and her adoptive ones die in a terrible accident. She is all alone in the world apart from Dell, a school counsellor whose therapy methods are completely unprofessional; and from a couple of new friends she has met recently. Those friends are the siblings Mai and Quang-ha (who is also seeing Dell for his disruptive behaviour) who end up convincing their mother Pattie to take care of Willow temporarily.Willow is a special person: she is a 12-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and with diagnosing medical conditions and who has found it difficult to deal and connect to people until this tragedy has forced her to.The story is centred on Willow’s specialness – despite her oddness she is extremely endearing and moves everybody around her that they all end up changing their lives for the better. It is a touching story that made me laugh and that made me cry. But it also made me ponder and question its main message.It is not for nothing that the official blurb compares it to Wonder by R J Palacio: it has a similar motif, a similar structure (head-jumping) and it provoked a similar reaction on me.I had three main problems with the novel: Dell’s counselling theories that go basically unchallenged; the novel’s ending; and its strange relationship with money.Dell – Dell is a terrible counsellor who doesn’t really know what he is doing and who often tries to exploit the system, who at first tried to exploit Willow’s knowledge for his own gain and who has a way of labelling his patients in an extremely problematic way. For some reason, schools sent him their worst cases and he does absolutely nothing to help them. In fairness, Dell is NOT supposed to be a good counsellor but he is shown in a fairly sympathetic light that is also supposed to be endearing and funny. Willow calls him out on the way that he labels the kids he sees but this is as far as the narrative goes on really challenging his role – in the end, he is shown as having grown and changed but no word is said about the kids whose lives he has affected negatively and who he was supposed to have helped. That his therapy method worked for Willow (because of her specialness) does not mean anything in a wider context but is everything that the novel is worried about.The ending: in the end, Pattie ends up adopting Willow. Now, up until the very ending of the novel, Pattie was shown as a resourceful, intelligent, caring woman who loves her kids and who cares for Willow deeply. She is also someone who struggles to make ends meet, who runs her own small business but who still has financial problems. Her and her two kids live in a one room garage with no bathroom or kitchen. She shares a bed with her daughter. It is hinted that their living conditions is one of the main reasons why her son is having behaviour issues. They are presented as extremely poor which only makes their attempt to help Willow all the more heart-warming.Then in the end it is revealed that Pattie is actually RICH, that she has been saving money all this time and has enough to buy an ENTIRE APARTMENT BUILDING. This is grating and confusing within the context of the novel because the Pattie that was presented to the reader throughout the novel is not someone who would impose such hardships (living in a garage!) on her own children for NO GOOD REASON. That she’d only reveal her money after her love for ULTRA SPECIAL Willow and not her own children serves only to reinforce Willow’s specialness.Which brings me to my last point.The Money issue: one of the main topics of the novel is the question of poverty and how it affects peoples’ lives. Surviving adversity despite poverty is one of the main drives of the novel and one of the connecting points between characters. In the end, the revelation that Pattie had tons of money all along and all of their money problems are magically solved undermines the topic of dealing with poverty. Plus, ANOTHER CHARACTER ALSO WINS THE LOTTERY BY THE WAY. He turns out to be the guy who is going to be the little girl’s adoptive father.The book is so focused on Willow’s specialness that it forgets the rest of the world (like the other kids with equally real problems that Dell is supposed to be helping), backtracks on the portrayal of the rest of their characters and detracts from a powerful storyline about poverty to shower money on just about everybody.I think it is that type of book that tries so hard to be about GOOD PEOPLE and it’s so well intentioned that I feel like a jerk for writing this review. In a way it is just like those “feel good movies of the year” that so often have problematic underlying messages that almost escapes your attention because you are injected with such a huge dose of happy-inducing saccharine storylines. But when you come down from that high, you hit rock bottom fast and furious.

  • LolaReviewer
    2019-02-27 18:31

    A second can feel like forever if what follows is heartbreak. Loss. It’s a universal state of feeling. While it’s true that it doesn’t spare anyone, people react differently to it. Still, society has provided us with five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.Willow knows this. She is highly gifted. If she could, she would spend entire days studying nature. She can tell you you’re ill just by spending ten minutes in your company. So of course she’s aware that one day losing her adoptive parents won’t hurt so much.But that doesn’t make her feel better. One cannot suppress their current emotions just by thinking that in a few months they won’t feel this way. That’s not how the world works. It never will. It’s no wonder human beings can feel such various emotions. We care about so many things. This is the story of six people brought together by a tragic event that will change their lives. The writing style is extremely engaging. I needed reasons to stop reading this book—sleep, school—because otherwise I could have spent hours immersed in it. The story is creative but realistic; the characters are authentic and likeable. There is even a character development for many of them. The only thing I struggled with was the shift between 1st and 3rd person narration styles. Willow’s chapters are written in the 1st person, while everyone else’s chapters are written in the 3rd person. I preferred the former. This book will break your heart very quickly, then mend it by exploring the metaphysical concepts of hope and fate. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  • Donalyn
    2019-03-21 19:32

    My friend, Colby, has been raving about this book for months, but I was afraid it would make me cry. It did, but not in the ways I expected. This heartbreaking story is filled with laughter, hope, and light. Willow is an unforgettable character and her story will resonate with anyone who has suffered loss or change. The secondary characters are interesting and well-drawn. In a sea of great middle-grade books this year, Counting by 7s is a standout.

  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    2019-03-05 17:33

    “When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama.” I didn’t give the cover much thought aside from thinking it’s cute but after reading the book, just looking at it forms a lump in my throat that if I didn’t control would certainly leak out of my eyes. *sniffs* Willow, an incredibly smart young girl represents the lone red fish in the cover swimming in a different direction as she loses her sense of balance, direction and meaning after the accident that took the life of both her parents in a single day. Counting by 7s has always been her sort of stability, her comfort until the accident happened and a huge chunk of her brightness toward her own life has snuffed out. “And that is why the deepest form of pain comes out as silence.” I’m not giving the book five stars because some parts of the plot and even Willow’s character are quite unbelievable but I’m very forgiving in this case because it’s a middle grade book. What I did love about Willow is her keen and spotless scientific, usually very funny observations and how she brings changes to the lives of the people she touched. Here are just some of her very insightful observations: “Teenage boys are so easily amused.” “It has been my experience that rewarding and heartbreaking often go hand in hand.”“I experienced syncope, a transient loss of consciousness, more commonly known as passing out. Yes, I fainted.”“I wish I that I were old enough to just go live in the Amazon and study the plants there, because it is possible that one of them holds the key to the cure for cancer.”“I will try to convey a positive attitude, while at the same time monitoring my blood pressure and vital signs. There have been cases of stress-induced cardiomyopathy, which also is known as broken heart syndrome.” (I’ll quote the entire book if I could)And even though the rest of the characters are slightly stereotyped, it didn’t stop me from enjoying their memorable roles in the story and how together, they form a connection and bond even stronger than that of a family. This middle school book is actually a health book, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, a psychological reference and a literary read all in one and that will make you laugh and cry alternately. Middle school reads never fail me.

  • Patricia
    2019-03-10 15:38

    I work at an elementary school and over the years I've met hundreds of children. The vast majority of them lie in the great bell of the bell curve, but there have been a smattering of outliers over the years. They've been weird, because that's what it means to be hanging out on the edges of the curve, and for some of them I've taken a deep breath, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best for them in middle school. Because their weird makes them fabulous kids and will make them fabulous adults. But sometimes weird isn't the best thing to bring along for your adolescence.So it is for the main character of our book. She's twelve and she's delightfully weird. I totally fell in love with her. She has no friends, but has such a stalwart attitude, and such high hopes for middle school, that I couldn't do anything but love her. Things happen and her plight is a bit worrisome, but she just keeps going.This is a great YA book for adults. I'm not really sure the YAs themselves will like it. The writing struck me as an older YA, but I'm not sure the older YAs will want to read about a 12-year-old girl. Perhaps the audience is other highly advanced 12-year-old girls? But forget the YAs. You grownups will love this.Also. In the acknowledgements, Sloan listed 7 teachers who made a difference in her life. I would like to add my list. Mr. Widermire (McKinley Elementary), Mr. Kaufman (West Jr. High), Mrs. Brown (West Jr. High), Ms. Clark (Borah High School), Mr. Sullivan (Borah High School), Mrs. McCurdy (Borah High School), Dr. Cottrell (Cottey College).

  • Neil (or bleed)
    2019-02-28 18:10

    I totally adored this book and its characters.Counting by 7s is absolutely a heartwarming novel that tells a realistic and profound story of a girl who lost her adoptive parents in a car accident. A coming-of-age novel that shows the growth and understanding of a little girl towards life and the people around her. A sweet and sad story of a genius child who just wants to make friends and love them and be loved back.I bought this book for the fact that the main character, Willow Chance, is a genius. You know, I have a fascination about genius people and wished I was one. But damn, I'm not. Well, I was a top student from elementary up to college during my school days (yep so braggy lol) but that was it. I still don't know a lot of things. I want to be that kind who can answer everything with conviction and eloquence but poor me, I can only answer questions that don't required a critical-thinking mind. Hahaha.Okay. Enough of the drama.As I've said, Willow Chance is a genius or an above average child. I like her automatically. And I like how almost everything interests her. At first she's like a common child out there who do the things she wants but after her parent's car accident, it is prominent as the story progress how she grows as a child, who just don't think about scientific and intellectual ideas but also wonders about peoples' emotions. She is truly adorable and admiring. And the affection between her and the other characters is making my heart beats a little faster for the surge of emotions I didn't expect to come.Yes, this book centered on Willow but this book also touches real life issues, such as adoption/fostering a child, continuing education, livelihood, psychology and all others. It has a well-balanced amount of drama and humor that made my reading experience so good. Counting by 7s also carries inspirations and realizations in terms of reaching your dreams, of not losing hope, of the love, care and happiness brings by your family and friends.It is truly a remarkable book for me.

  • Elyse
    2019-02-24 20:15

    "It said I was highly gifted. Are people lowly gifted?Or medium gifted?Or just gifted? It's possible that all labels are curses. Unless they are cleaning products.Because its my opinion it's not really a great idea to see people as one thing. Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a-kind creation. We are all imperfect genetic stews. ( THIS WAS MY FAVORITE QUOTE.... and near the first half of this book -- so I wasn't tired -YET- of this child's chatter) Willow loves plants, the color red, observing medical conditions, and counting by 7's. She loved he parents deeply. They die in a car crash in the first chapter. That's it' ( not much else on that topic).??? Ok??? On to an almost separate story... starting chapter 2:Willow is just beginning middle school. Her life at school gets enmeshed with her school counselor, Dell Duke, the Nguyen family, and variety of characters....that has us look at race, and different cultures. Willow was accused of cheating on a state Standardize Test. She didn't.She is ridiculously bright (savant, possibly Aspergers). Most kids - and adults -might benefit having a dictionary near by to keep up with Willow. This is a book which celebrates being different. It's also a story which inspires others to have passions, interests, do personal research, and make a difference in life. Yet... I wouldn't have related to Willow - at all- if I was a kid. I felt this book was 'pushed-to-be-perfectly-politically-correct'! It looked obvious to me...and it got in the way of being more enjoyable to me. I listened to the audiobook ... I felt being 'talked to'... ( passed the time while walking and such) but I never really 'warmed' to any of the characters ... (But some of the lines were funny, and parts of the story were unique). Overall..I felt this book was 'fair' ( for me: as an adult). If I were a kid... I doubt I'd like it much more.

  • Shelley
    2019-03-17 16:23

    An excellent introduction to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl phenomenon for kids. Watch the quirky, plucky, feisty, vocabulary obsessed orphan genius change the lives of everyone around her, just by existing. Whoo.Obviously, not wowed. It had a very magical world sort of feel to it, a bit of fairy tale in its oddness. They kept saying she was a genius, but except for a few offscreen things (passing tests for adults), you never felt that. Also, before her parents' deaths (which, how odd to have the diagnosis scene right before that? So this was probably all going to happen no matter what?), she sort of seemed to have OCD (ie, counting by 7s to calm herself) and perhaps be on the spectrum. Yet when her world falls apart, she doesn't continue these behaviors? They're coping techniques. Commonly found when one is trying to cope with things. Like life becoming unrecognizable. That felt odd. The whole thing felt odd. Probably closer to 2.5 stars, but I'm giving a slight benefit of the doubt because the e-ARC I read was formatted so poorly, which didn't help.

  • Sam Bloom
    2019-02-21 18:12

    There is no such thing as a perfect book.But I believe pretty strongly that there IS such a thing as the right book at the right time for the right person.Counting by 7s was the right book at the right time for me. And for that reason I will probably love it forever.But it certainly isn't a perfect book. In fact, there were some issues that, at many times, would have been deal breakers for me.Like the author's apparent aversion to paragraphs. What's wrong with writing in paragraphs? Why the need to write in one- or two-sentence paragraphs? That got old pretty quickly.Also (and I feel I've made my point with the single-line paragraphs, so I'm going to write normally now... you're welcome) Willow was way, way too adult at times. And the ending came together a bit too perfectly.But, to be honest, I could care less about all that. Because the cast of the characters here, and the story of how they came together, was perfect. Yes, there were times when the author's voice came through too loudly in Willow's narrative, but all in all she was a MAGNIFICENT protagonist. Memorable, vulnerable, brilliant, funny, and - in a pretty major accomplishment - MOSTLY believable. Dell Duke was just about perfect, and the relationship between these two characters is brilliantly done. The Nguyens are all fabulous, too.This is not the best book of the year. But it is definitely near the top, and it is certainly my personal favorite.

  • Samuel
    2019-03-10 13:17

    Counting by 7s is the story of Willow Chance, a precocious 12-year-old whose parents are killed in an automobile accident. It details the aftermath of this tragedy, and Willow's attempts to build a new life and a new home with a cast of other people who don't quite fit in.The book is getting a fair amount of awards buzz, and a lot of reviewers have really positive things to say about it. Having finished it, however, I find myself unpersuaded.The biggest problem I had is with Willow herself. I didn't believe in her for a second -- she reads like the kind of genius you see on a TV show rather than one you might actually encounter in real life. She effortlessly learns and recalls information about gardening, zoology, epidemiology, dermatology, beekeeping, astrophysics, computer hardware, legal agreements, spatial design, astronomy, network hacking, modernist poetry, and multiple foreign languages (Spanish, Latin, Vietnamese), to the point that even Marilyn Vos Savant might be hard-pressed to keep up. She aces a test that apparently not a single other child in the state of California has gotten perfect, and yet she hasn't so much as skipped a grade. As middle school prodigies go, she's slightly less realistic than Susan and Mary Test, and significantly more problematic than Early Auden, whom I've already complained about at length.That might work if it were played for laughs, or if it were in some kind of larger-than-life tall tale, but Counting by 7s is ostensibly contemporary fiction with no fantastic elements. Willow's character kept jarring me out of that world with her impossibility.This is even more true because the facts in the book have moments where they veer away from the truth significantly. Willow has a story she tells (and references repeatedly) about the flock of green-rumped parrots that lived by her house. However, the book is set in Bakersfield, California, and according to the Official California Bird Records, there has never been a recorded sighting of a green-rumped parrot (or parrotlet, which is what it's usually called) in California, much less a flock of them moving into someone's backyard. If she's an expert in zoology at the level at which she is presented -- and, especially since the book shifts constantly between first and third person narration, there's no reason to view Willow as an unreliable narrator -- that seems like the sort of mistake she wouldn't make.Counting by 7s has a heartwarming plot, and the sentence-level writing is quite good, if presented in a somewhat stilted cadence. But, in the end, I'm not convinced about this one at all.This review also appeared at

  • The Reading Countess
    2019-03-15 13:36

    It's hard to garner five stars from me. Four stars? Yes. But five? That's nearly impossible. If Goodreads had seven stars, I would award it just that.This is the story of Willow, a genius who simply has never fit in-until tragedy strikes and she is forced to find her niche in a world that simply doesn't seem to have space for someone like her. Or does it? Counting By 7s is about what truly makes a family, about acceptance and the human spirit to overcome and adapt. It's about being open and confronting your fears. In the end, it's about life. I loved how perfectly Holly Goldberg Sloan tucked the voice of Willow so slyly into the text. I could hear her whisper reading the book in my ear. This one is a page-turner, and will surely be a winner as a read aloud.Absolutely stunning. Counting By 7's is a must read for any upper elementary, middle school or even high school teacher/parent of that age group. Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore when it comes out. You won't be sorry.

  • Whitney Atkinson
    2019-03-01 14:14

    3.5 starsI'm a bit disappointed in this. It started out with a flashback that didn't end for about 50 pages, and I loved everything then. The main character is so smart and quirky and such a role model. But then it snaps back to reality when she's trying to recover from a family tragedy and I found that the book got really boring. Her bright and intelligent personality went away, and I couldn't make sense of a lot that happened with the plot. I didn't understand a lot of the character interactions, why certain characters were being highlighted and followed. Regardless I love the character development and now I feel really inspired to learn a new language lol

  • Mariah
    2019-03-13 14:22

    This book has been on my To-Read forever and I was so excited to finally get to it. However, this book was definitely a disappointment. There was nothing gripping about it that made me want to keep reading... There was nothing interesting about her advanced understanding and obsession with learning because when her parents died (that is not a spoiler... it happens right away) her obsession with learning and growing stopped. The author focused so much on other stuff that it took away from learning about the main character."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."

  • Kristine
    2019-03-13 18:38

    4.5 stars Best of the Year So Far - Review to ComeThis book is far from perfect, but the strongest book I've read so far this year. Willow is a 12-year-old prodigy who's been adopted by parents with very little other family. Right at the start, her parents die in a car accident. -RANT-Let me get this out of the way first: I loathe dead parent/grandparent books. It's just such an exhausted literary trope for me that it grates against my consciousness in all imaginable ways. So let me get my beef out now, when Willow is in the library and she saysI have trouble concentrating, but I still attempt to search for reading material involving losing a parent. I find no literature or empirical data directed to a middle schooler. If I were a publisher, I would immediately initiate a series of books for kids who have to cope with the death of their mother or father.andThere must be a commonality in the experience of losing a parent that makes it worthwhile to share the particulars of the occurrence. Especially for the young. More literary output is needed from professionals in this area. Please pass along this request to the appropriate people in the world of publishing.I mean, is she serious? I know that Willow is a girl that usually reads more nonfiction, but a lackage of dead parents in middle grade literature?? WHAT ALTERNATE UNIVERSE DO YOU EXIST IN, WILLOW???? Because I thought this was realistic fiction, and not a fantasy. Having a dead parent(s) is a common mechanism in children's literature to easily create independence, adventure, conflict and/or sympathy, etc. It is the exception, and not the rule, in children's literature to have present parents. For a book to start on this path - whoah, boy - you are already in the negative stars for me, and you better be putting something together to really wow me to get me to like this book. It's possible, but rare. Like Walk Two Moons rare. -END RANT-AND, I'll give credit where credit is due, I believe you overcame it for me. The book starts with Willow being accused of cheating (remember the prodigy thing? apparently this school hasn't figured that part out yet, which is . . . um, an inconsistency) and sent to Dell Duke, the school counselor, who discovers her genius. Then Willow is orphaned and has no able family to take her. They weren't part of a church or social group and mostly just hung out themselves. So when the two teens (Mai and her brother) who are there to witness the police break the news to her take pity and act like family friends to take her home that night instead of off to a shelter - this turns into a bumbling group of half-broken people trying to make the best of an awful situation in Bakersfield, CA. The strength of the book is the voice, it's so strong and consistent. And yet I'm torn, much of her dialog (internal and external) sounds like an adult, but on the other hand, so do prodigies. Is it the author's voice or is it a well written prodigy? Either way, I'll accept it and enjoy it. She has some real gems, like:Dell Duke is not a bad person. He is just bad at being a person.The burden of ownership means everything has a price.Plants (like people) thrive when there is balance. I'll be ready. I'm not sure for what exactly. But maybe that's what being ready really means. He said that the cat was a therapy dog. I appreciate his support, but I sincerely hope that he's not running the show.A second can feel like forever if what follows is heartbreak. Such good stuff, right? Other than the voice and writing, I have to admit my personal bias to well written exploration of the foster care system. As a former foster parent I'm usually very picky about how these children and the system are portrayed. This book has the caring, overworked case worker; the preference for young adorable children and a small glimpse of a group foster home, which, was a little glossy to me (seeing as the one my teenage foster daughter came out of was a run down home in a run down part of town that had some of the counselors on site smoking as much weed with the kids than they could find at school). Willow's fascination with plants and the parallel story of regrowing/planting temporary plants looking for places to put down deep roots is fitting and not too in your face (I'm thinking of other popular overt stories as in Navigating Early and Okay for Now, knock me in the head parallels). I like how it showed a realistic depression, a shutting down, a not caring for much - and how the baby steps started to turn it around. I liked the unlikable Dell Duke and how this group of Misfits, Oddballs, Lone Wolves, Weirdos, Geniuses, Dictators, and Mutants all came together to make each other better together than they were separately. The ending wasn't perfect (well it was kind of a hot mess, and a little too much happily ever after for my taste, but it's passable. Personally for me, it's at the top of my list to vote on the Mock Newbery this year (so far). Which is something, right?One last note, this book was provided by and the publisher in exchange for an honest review - and really, I know it's an uncorrected proof, but the second half of the book constantly skipped groups of pages and I suspect even chapters at a time on my kindle. This may be why the second half of the story lacked for me, because some of it was missing?

  • Anisha A
    2019-03-21 16:35

    I read this book last year but it was a really good book.

  • Bee (Heart Full of Books)
    2019-03-21 21:38

    I'm not crying YOU'RE crying. Oh goodness. This book was so ridiculously amazing. The cover doesn't really do it justice in my opinion but it's such a beautiful story about how a girl changes five people's lives and I LOVED it. It also had some pretty strong Matilda vibes (she even loves the library!) so if you're looking for the next Matilda, read Counting by 7s!

  • Sean-Wyn
    2019-03-04 20:10

    A decent book about moving on from a life-altering tragedy. But the plot's a bit generic and the author's attempts to make Willow look smart are forced sometimes. 4/5 stars.

  • Snotchocheez
    2019-03-10 13:14

    The entire time I read this, there was an arhythmic thumping in the back of my head. It was (I think) an un-cadent tattoo to remind me it seems like I've read variations on this book's theme a dozen or more times. (It doesn't help that the book I've just started reading after this one (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt) has nearly the same exact plot points as this one, just written for a significantly more mature audience), An overfamiliar theme (a child's grief after losing his or her parents) is not the reason why I rated Counting By 7's so low, though. There was just too much ridiculously implausible crap going on (not to mention the grieving child at the heart of this book, Willow Chance, a middle-school "genius", curiously has the same "voice" as every other character in this book, no thanks to the author's inane decision to switch from Willow's first person narration to third person omniscient at whim with little continuity or appropiate segue: everyone in the book sounds like Willow, who of course, sounds like author Holly Goldberg Sloan, whether it be her newly acquired Vietnamese friends Mai and Quang-ha Nguyen, their mom Pattie (Dung), or her jaw-droppingly inept school counselor Dell Duke: they all pretty much sound alike...only Willow has the opportunity to drop fifty-cent words like "onomatopoetic" (sp) and knows how to control soil pH levels and counts by 7s (cause she's a "genius", you know) )When I read a YA/teen/middle grade (i.e. not "adult") novel, it's always a bad sign when I have to stop repeatedly (usually after a section that doesn't exactly ring true, or is fraught with grammatical/stylistic problems) and ask myself "Well, would I have liked this when I was a kid?". It's much worse, though, when the answer back to myself is a resounding "No".

  • Lucrezia
    2019-03-17 16:10

    Wow! Questo libro mi ha completamente travolta e affascinata. L'ho adorato, soprattutto per la protagonista.Willow Chance è una ragazzina di colore, di 12 anni ed è praticamente un genio. Si interessa a tutto, soprattutto alla medicina e alle piante. Ha problemi a relazionarsi con i suoi coetanei, ha un modo tutto suo di guardare il mondo ed è stata adottata da una famiglia che ama e dalla quale è amata. Ma all'improvviso i suoi genitori muoiono in un incidente. E così Willow si ritrova sola per la seconda volta nella sua vita. E' solo grazie all'amicizia di Mai Nguyen, una vietnamita più grande di lei che decide che verrà a vivere con lei e la sua famiglia, che Willow inizia una nuova vita. E' un libro molto particolare, soprattutto perché Willow e Mai diventano amiche grazie a uno svogliato consulente scolastico incaricato di seguire Willow e il fratello di Mai, sua madre, Pattie, si ritrova a diventare custode temporanea per una ragazzina che non ha mai conosciuto e finalmente Dell, il consulente, inizia a cambiare.E Willow tocca la vita di molte persone. Jurio, il tassista (che la considera un angelo) al quale dà un prezioso consiglio, spingendolo a seguire il suo sogno e cominciare a studiare.Mai e Quang-ha (o come si scrive), che legano con lei e creano un bellissimo rapporto. Pattie, alla quale dà consigli sul suo salone, Dell, che inizia a prendere in mano la propria vita e a migliorarsi.Ciò che mi ha colpito di più è stata l'intelligenza di Willow. Impara da sola il Vietnamita per parlare con Mai, smonta computer, crea giardini e migliora la vita sua e di altre persone.Un personaggio fantastico, positivo e molto realistico.

  • Philip
    2019-03-21 17:32

    SNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO! I woke up and started reading this as I ate my breakfast. I had coffee and coffee cake... again. Then I played with the kids some. Then I told them, back off... I was reading. Then we built a snow fort. Then I read. Dinner. Read. Put the kids to bed. Read. My wife said, "Philip... there's no way we're having another snow day tomorrow. You should really turn off the light."I had 20 pages left. 20 pages... It feels SOOOOooooo good to be so into a book that the only thing you want to do is read. And it's a great feeling to finish a book in a day. But, it's always a better idea to listen to your wife.So, I went to school on Thursday - without having finished the book. I hyped it up to my kids, and finished it that afternoon when I got home.Of course, I didn't have to, because today... Friday... is a... SNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO!!!!! 10th one of the year!!! (Nothing like going to school in July. Or driving to the school when you have a delay, only to get there and find out it's cancelled and come home to facebook posts telling you teachers are lazy.*)*Ahem* Sorry... Back to the book... It's fantastic. Sloan knocked it out of the park.I put it in the ubiquitous and ambiguous "Young Adult" category, but some may argue it's a little younger than young adult. Perchance.But I liked it more than a lot of the YA stuff out there. The books I like most resolve, but necessarily tidily so... And they are definitely not (overly) formulaic.I was just discussing The Fault in Our Stars with a colleague, who said - that's the point, right? We have this idea of what our destiny should be, but it doesn't ever turn out that way.That's why I totally disagree with J.K. Rowling's newest reveal that says Harry should have ended up with Hermione. And, I'm not the only one who thinks that, either.Sure, the font size was larger, and my (outstanding) Public Library has it shelved in the Juvenile section... but mark my words: this is as YA as it gets.I'm not going to blurb about what this books about. You can get that in 5 seconds by scrolling to the top of your screen (assuming you're reading this on goodreads) and looking at the description of the book. ...Also, it's late.I'm just going to tell you that it's good, and that I'm recommending it to you. And that, if you read it now - in 2014 - you'll be ahead of the game. Because everybody will be talking about this book soon, if they aren't already. *Ok... this didn't happen to me this year. At least, not the part about going into the school on a delay and having it cancelled. But it has happened to me several times in the past. And it's very frustrating. ...The facebook posts are there. And annoying.

  • JonathanT
    2019-03-15 14:23

    If there’s anything I’ve figured out in the last months it’s that you can find labels to organize living things, but you can’t put people in any kind of group or order. It just doesn’t work that way. I liked the idea behind this one. Reading a book with a GENIUS as the main character sounded like it would be fun! and interesting! and unique! But I think the book got SO caught up in being Politically Correct that it ended up having a very stifled/artificial feel to it. Add to that a believability-stretching plotline, a sporadic writing style, and a main character I had a hard time caring for, I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. I’m just going to break this review down into headings because I want to pretend like my thoughts on this book are organized. (spoiler alert: THEY’RE REALLY NOT) On Political Correct-Ness and Counting by 7s This book was so, so, so incredibly Politically Correct. Uuuggghh. The main character is a vegetarian and most likely a budding environmentalist. Also, ethnic diversity is a major theme in the book. The problem is that the ethnic characters were Vietnamese or Hispanic ONLY for the sake of being Politically Correct- not because that would effect the plot in any way. The Plotline I wasn’t buying into about half of what happens here. First, both Willow’s parents die tragically in a car accident. Which already screams“CLICHÉ” at me, but on top of that, Willow’s entire story stretches believability waaaay too far. Just a few examples: -This Vietnamese lady named Pattie who Willow has NEVER met before arbitrarily agrees to take Willow in after her parents die. (Willow is totally ok with this arrangement) -also Pattie may or may not live with her two teenaged kids in a garage (literally) behind the nail salon that she owns/operates -SOMEHOW THEY GET AROUND THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THIS, IDK -this guy named Dell who’s completely incompetent somehow gets himself a job as school counselor -also this taxi cab driver randomly decides that Willow is his “angel” and agrees to drive her anywhere FOR FREE.(view spoiler)[-beforementioned taxi cab driver is thinking about going back to college and as he’s thinking about it he WINS $20,000 AT A RANDOM STORE because he just so happens to be the one millionth customer (it’s his first time shopping at said store) -near the end, Pattie reveals that she’s been saving up money for aaageess and that she can actually afford to buy AN ENTIRE APARTMENT BUILDING. For some reason she was living in a garage with her two kids, even though she apparently had all this money?(hide spoiler)]-Willow pretty much turns every character mentioned above into a better person. While writing a genius character might have been a genius idea (hahaha see what I did there), it also lowers the relatability of Willow. A lot. Because how many of us are geniuses? NOT MANY. Willow was honestly just really hard to relate to. Her thought processes were interesting, but not in a “oh I’ve felt that same way before” type of way- more in a “oohhhh do some people really know all this stuff?” type of way.The Writing StyleThere’s some good and some bad: the bad is that the writing style is INCREDIBLY sporadic. As in, frequent tense and POV shifts, back and forth from present tense to past tense to first person to third person. The good is that I did really like seeing into every character’s head, not just Willow’s. Even if the POV shifts did sometimes throw me off. I will say that I think the style did work for this book- it’s definitely going to throw a lot of readers off though.The main positive thing for this book was CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT GOALS. (especially for Dell) So, because of that, and because I did like the idea and the ending of this book, I'm giving this a GENEROUS three stars. But I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, unless I was positive they would like it. :D

  • Londa
    2019-03-07 14:37

    STANDING OVATION!! I have this slightly odd habit. I only do it when I encounter a truly fantastic book, and well it happened last night. See... I usually start reading a book while standing at the bar in my kitchen. Everything lands there when we get home...library books, school work, junk and not-so-junk mail. Most of the time, when I get a new book, being the nerd I am, I can't help but read the first few pages. From there I USUALLY put the book on the shelf, or in my bag, or somewhere else. Once in a great while, the book will get stuck to the counter and I find myself stuck with it like Pooh to his Hunny Jar. Yesterday, after the rest of the house was snoring, I decided to read the first few pages of Counting by 7's. Three hours later, I was still standing by the bar when my devoted hubby asked me if I knew what time it was! No, I didn't and thank goodness I had just finished because it was pretty dang late! This book is wonderful! Willow is an awesomely wonderful child who seems a bit 'aspergery'. She never really fit in anywhere until tragedy forced her and special people around her into a 'new normal' I can relate to this story on so many different levels and I am sure that many others will too. It is a perfect match for the middle-grade audience that it is written for, and I highly recommend it. There is one issue that I have with this book that almost caused me to rate it a 4, (view spoiler)[ I had a real problem with Pattie conveniently hoarding all that money while her children suffered the living conditions they endured at the garage. Perhaps Sloan wanted us to realize that the situation with Willow forced her to finally open her eyes, but it is really hard for me to believe.(hide spoiler)] but any book that keeps me standing for 3 hours, deserves a pass for one or two flaws. Bravo! Edit: As I kept thinking about it, I am going to have to go with a 4 because of the spoiler above. A 5 means that I would not change a thing about the novel, or if I would change/prefer some detail change, it would have to be very minute. Still a really fantastic read though!

  • Kerry
    2019-03-07 17:22

    A wonderful book about a young girl who sees the world differently and likes the number 7. Her life is dramatically altered forever and this story follows her journey and the people who she meets and touches along the way.A story of being different, life, tragedy, love, friendship and family. How one person can change the lives of those around her and how family isn't always the one we're born into. A great read and a story that pulls at the heart strings.

  • Elsie
    2019-03-02 16:28

    This book was very slow at the start and nothing was really happening, but as I continued to read more deeper into the book I loved it. Willow chance (the main character) was weird, quirky and funny. 8-15 year olds will definitely enjoy reading this book. Now a quote from counting by 7s 'if your lost you may have to swim against the tide'

  • Claudia Badiu
    2019-03-20 20:18

    M-a fermecat povestea asta. Nici n-am simțit cum am ajuns să simt așa de profund stările personajelor, emoțiile lor și îngrijorarea lor.Se întâmplă că 7 e și numărul meu, așa am ajuns în universul lui Willow. Scrisă simplu, extrem de simplu, ca și cum toată încărcătura stilistică a fost dată la o parte și a fost lăsat esențialul, adevărul, importantul. Willow m-a învățat despre plante, Univers, oameni, iubire, legături, rădăcini, familie. Willow m-a învățat că lumea nu se termină atunci când ți se pare că se termină. Lumea continuă, în alt fel, sub o altă formă, dar continuă, mereu...

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2019-03-01 13:39

    Gah, the adorableness of this book. Middle grades can be so good, because they give that focus on family so often wanting from YA, and I just love the family of colorful characters brought together here. Counting by 7s is an enchanting middle grade novel with a lot of heart. One of my favorite stories to see in fiction, aside from a slow burn hate to love relationship is that of a family forming out of people who aren't necessarily related. Sure, a lot of people love their birth families, but just because you're not related to someone it doesn't preclude them being your family. The connections between people, what makes a familial bond, has very little to do with blood, and more to do with supporting and motivating one another. This message is one that I find so important.Willow Chance is, as the blurb says, a genius. She's smart to the degree that she has difficulty interacting with other people, because she cannot fathom why they do not find the intricacies of gardening or language or multiples of seven fascinating. Middle school proves a torture, because no one wants to hang out with the weird girl who's dressed like a janitor (to blend in with nature, you see). To make matters worse, she aces a test and is accused of cheating. Because of that, she's sent to counseling with the worst counselor ever: Dell Duke.What Dell discovers is that Willow is not a cheater or a troublemaker, because he gives her SAT tests and she aces them all. He also watches her learn Vietnamese over the course of a couple of weeks. The girl's brilliant. Dell becomes a bit obsessed, in a professional way not a creepy way, with Willow and feels the odd urge to try to help. Then both of her parents (not her biological ones either) die, leaving her at the mercy of the foster system again.Spontaneously, another family, the son of which is also forced to go to counseling with Dell, adopts Willow and they form this strange little family. The book is just so touching. They all are made better by their relationship, even though there are so many hardships. There's a lot of diversity and self-improvement and emotion. Over the course of the book, I came to care for all of them, even Dell, which I did not expect.There are a lot of middle grade books about genius children or at least much smarter than average children. To be frank, these are my favorite ones, because I like children that act more maturely. Though Willow's well-read and clever, her character definitely does read convincingly like a twelve-year-old. The narrative voice is fabulous and convincing. Willow just jumps right off the page and into your head.However, much as I love the narrative voice and the emotions, the writing did leave me wanting. The problem is that, while I love the way Willow's perspective is done, we don't just get her perspective. A drifting third person limited interrupts. That could be fine, except for the fact that the third person perspective reads EXACTLY LIKE WILLOW'S. Also, Willow's perspective in the first chapter has a sort of talking to the audience flair, so the third person sections really don't fit with that sort of style.A touchingly emotional middle grade, Counting by 7s is one that I recommend rather highly. I'll definitely be looking to try more of Sloan's work, even if I wasn't entirely pleased with the perspectives in this work.

  • Caroline
    2019-03-14 18:19

    3.5/5 stars THIS book was better than I thought it would be but I still found a few things wrong with it. The story follows Willow, a twelve year old genius reeling from the tragic loss of her parents. I really enjoyed the parts of the story which surrounded her grief and the reaction of someone so young to a loss so huge. I think those parts were really well done. I also really enjoyed the variety of characters and felt that they were realistic and did not feel fake. A lot of the time I disliked Willow's narration. Her observations, which were under the guise of 'genius trying to understand the world' felt a lot like an adult writer using this platform to complain about teenagers and other people. Like 'Willow' doesn't understand the way teenagers dress and behave. 'Willow' is confused by the school experience because she is above it. Reading these things didn't seem like something a genius would be concerned with if that makes sense. It felt like an adult author being like "I hate it when kids wear modern clothes so Willow hates it too". I also think that the perspectives changed far too frequently between and even during chapters. There were a lot of characters and I found it to be a really odd choice that Willow's chapters were in first person and everyone else's were in third. It didn't make sense to me and I honestly found it really annoying which is part of the reason this isn't getting a higher rating from me.I enjoyed this book and it is a really quick read. Once I sat down and committed to it, I was done in a few hours. I didn't cry at the end (although a lot of people would) but I found it to be very sweet. Definitely worth the read- I'm curious as to whether other people are annoyed by the same things in it that I was.

  • Maddie (Heart Full Of Books)
    2019-02-22 17:24

    I really, really loved this book. Thanks to Bee for pushing it into my hands. This was such a sweet story about support coming from the most unlikely places, and definitely one I want to add to my personal collection soon!

  • Brody
    2019-03-15 19:22

    This is so good! I almost cried. There are so many things that stand out in this book that make you want to cry or laugh. Or both.

  • Vir
    2019-02-25 18:18

    Un 3,5 en realidadContar de 7 en 7 nos trae la historia de Willow una niña que tiene una forma muy especial de ver la vida, su obsesión con ciertas cosas -como lo mucho que le encanta leer sobre enfermedades y diagnosticárselas a la gente-, me sacaron más de una carcajada en más de una ocasión, y lo triste, pero a la vez bonito, de su historia me emocionaron en alguna otra. La novela está narrada en primera persona, sobre todo por Willow -aunque de vez en cuando se colará como narrador alguno de los secundarios- y eso nos ayuda a empatizar más con la niña, a vivir de primera mano lo duro que es para ella encontrar personas con las que congenie y a ver lo totalmente perdida y sola que se sentirá cuando su familia adoptiva -los únicos que conseguían entenderla- muera en trágicas circunstancias y no tenga a nadie más con quien quedarse hasta que un grupo de personas de lo más variopinto entre en su vida. Y es que, aunque Willow es la protagonista absoluta de la historia, los secundarios me parecieron tan especiales y únicos como ella. Me reí muchísimo con ellos, a algunos los odié al principio pero aprendí a amarles al final, y es que todos tienen su propia historia y su propio desarrollo a lo largo de la novela.Holly Goldberg Sloan tiene una pluma muy sencilla y directa pero, a la vez, muy delicada. Usa muchas frases cortas y una narración muy sencilla, incluso cae en algunas situaciones y personajes algo tópicos, pero todo se le perdona por lo genial que es la historia. Me gustó muchísimo la delicadeza con la que narra la situación de Willow, cómo consigue crear un vínculo, en mi caso casi instántaneo, entre el lector y la niña. Sí que es cierto que me esperaba que Willow fuera algo más peculiar de lo que fue o que la autora recalcara aún más sus manías, pero en general me pareció un personaje tan humano y con tantos matices que tampoco le di mucha importancia a eso. La historia además tiene un ritmo muy bueno, yo prácticamente devoré el libro porque una vez metida de lleno en la trama me resultó imposible parar de leer. Y es que aunque en algunos momentos la dirección que iba a tomar la trama puede ser bastante predecible, eso no le quita ni un ápice de encanto a la historia.Más en... http://lavidasecretadeloslibros.blogs...