Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

After the unthinkable happens, Willow must attempt to make sense of her shattered world. Willow’s remarkable intelligence sets her apart from kids her age, and she struggles to fit in. However, with the help of Mai, an older high-school student, Willow finds temporary safe haven. Sloan laces Willow’s story with that of almost everyone she touches – from Mai’s brother and single mother, to school counselor, Dell, to even Willow’s cab driver — creating a rich, engaging novel nearly impossible to put down.

By far, this was the best book I’ve read all year! At first, Sloan’s writing seems disjointed and it’s a little hard to see how all the stories fit together. Once things get going, however, everything flows perfectly and you won’t want to stop reading. Willow’s serious outlook on life often results in hilarious observations, and you feel connected to her from the start. The other characters are believable and flawed — a very realistic representation of “normal” people. Though the book is on the longer side, you will keep reading out of curiosity — what will happen to Willow in the end? The ending is powerful, tying all ends together perfectly and leaving readers with an unshakable sense of hope. 

Rating: 5/5

*Bluebonnet Nominee, 2014-2015

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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