COUNTING BY 7S by Holly Goldberg Sloan

COUNTING BY 7S

Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

A story of renewal and belonging that succeeds despite, not because of, its contrivances.

Twelve-year-old genius Willow Chance was adopted as an infant by her “so white” parents (Willow is mixed race) and loses them both in one afternoon in a convenient (plotwise) car accident. Outside of her parents, she has a hard time making friends since her mishmash of (also convenient, plotwise) interests—disease, plants and the number seven—doesn’t appeal to her fellow middle-grade students. Losing her parents propels her on her hero’s-journey quest to find belonging. Along the way, her fate intertwines with those of a confident high school girl named Mai and her surly brother, Quang-ha; their energetic, manicure-salon–owning mother, Pattie (formerly Dung); Jairo Hernandez, a taxi driver with an existential crisis; and a failure of a school counselor named Dell Duke. With these characters’ ages running the gamut from 12 to high school to mid-30s and their voices included in a concurrent third-person narration along with Willow’s precise, unemotional first-person narration, readers may well have a hard time engaging. Relying heavily on serendipity—a technique that only adds, alas, to the “leave no stone unturned” feeling of the story—the plot resolves in a bright and heartfelt, if predictable conclusion.

Despite its apparent desire to be all things to all people, this is, in the end, an uplifting story. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3855-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2013




OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for SOLITUDE CREEK
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE QUARTET
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY HOLLY GOLDBERG SLOAN

ChildrenAPPLEBLOSSOM THE POSSUM by Holly Goldberg Sloan
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
ChildrenJUST CALL MY NAME by Holly Goldberg Sloan
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
ChildrenI'LL BE THERE by Holly Goldberg Sloan
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenRAIN REIGN by Ann M. Martin
by Ann M. Martin
ChildrenCLOSE TO FAMOUS by Joan Bauer
by Joan Bauer
ChildrenMY BROTHER'S SHADOW by Tom Avery
by Tom Avery