Counting By 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

by on August 25th, 2014
Counting By 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Cover Image

Twelve-year-old Willow Chase has had trouble fitting in her whole life because she is a genius, a person of color, unusual, and adopted.  Her parents provide much love and support despite Willow’s idiosyncrasies and mild obsessive compulsive disorder (she counts by sevens to help calm herself down and has a fixation about medical issues).  Finding a friend has never been easy, but meeting Mai Nguyen who accompanies her brother to his counseling sessions, prior to Willow’s own hour with the inept Dell Duke, changes things and the girls build a unique friendship together.  When the unthinkable happens, the car crash that kills Willow’s adoptive parents, Willow goes to stay in the garage behind the nail salon that Mai’s mother owns.  The social worker insists that this is just temporary until she can be moved to a facility that can deal with someone who has twice lost her parents and must fine another place to live.  Finding a “new normal” amid a Vietnamese family living just barely above the poverty level creates an opportunity for Willow to change other people’s lives while finding stability and her own unique place in society.  The strong characterizations, the different voices used in the storytelling, and the plot through which Willow finds meaning and acceptance again, create a special novel that will definitely hold the interest in 5th-8th grade readers.

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