Review of the Week

Counting by SevensSloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s.  Fiction. Dial, 2013. 380p. $16.99. 978-0-8037-03855-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 7-12.

Although seventh grader Willow Chance was adopted by loving parents at a young age in Bakersfield, she’s faced a very solitary existence without friends. When her adopted parents die suddenly in a car accident, an odd assortment of acquaintances rally to form a diverse circle of caring: a taxi driver, an oddball guidance counselor, a ninth-grade girl and her tenth grade brother, the children of a nail salon owner. Sloan’s gift is in the characterization. It’s apparent that Willow has Asperger’s, although it is never mentioned explicitly; her thoughts and actions do the talking for the reader. Despite her removed observer nature, Willow is an engaging narrator, and the reader can’t help but root for her to find her way through her grief. Review based on an ARC.

Beth Gousman, Montclair School

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