Friday, August 23, 2013

Counting by 7s (2013)

Counting by 7s. Holly Goldberg Sloan. 2013. Penguin USA. 384 pages. [Review Copy]

Willow Chance is her own person. She may be a little different, a little distant, a little odd. But. There is something truly special about her. At the end of the first chapter, Willow returns home with the school counselor and two other new friends, to discover the police are waiting to tell her horrible news: both of her parents are dead. Willow has no other family; there aren't even any family friends that she knows about, that she could stay with. Mai and Quang-ha her new friends step up and volunteer. They lie. They say their families have known each other for years; of course, Willow will have a home with them, at least temporarily. The school counselor knows the truth, of course, he introduced them not so very long ago, but he stays silent. The novel then goes back to show what happened before: how Willow started the school year, how Willow "needed" counseling, how Willow made some new friends, why Willow suddenly got inspired to learn Vietnamese, how knowing Willow has changed the lives of two different men (the school counselor; a taxi driver). The reader also learns about the accident in greater detail. (Some of the details leading up to the event disappointed me; I thought it was too much.)

My favorite character in Counting by 7s was not Willow Chance. Willow's influence on other people is encouraging, proof that she is special, but Willow's narration alone did not win my heart. My two favorite characters were Mr. Dell Duke, the school counselor, and Jairo Hernandez, the taxi-driver. I enjoyed the other characters as well: Mai, Quang-ha, and their mother, Pattie.

The novel's greatest strength is in its quirkiness. It never felt sentimental. This is not your typical "sad book" about death and grief. There is humor and hope and courage. 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko 6:04 PM  

Lovely review, Becky! The quirky nature of this book appeals to me.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP