Friday, October 4, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I read a review that referred to Counting by 7s as “this years Wonder”…those are some pretty big words (a piece of that book still lives in my heart.)  And now my heart will have to make room for Willow, Mia, Quang-ha and the whole cast of characters in Counting by 7s.   Ok this is going to get personal…

I have *that* girl – odd, different, quirky, weird, WONDERFUL, SPECIAL, A GIFT TO THE WORLD – just like Willow.  And while my girl may have different oddities…I got Willow, I understood Willow, I LOVE Willow.  Here is my favorite quote…the one that got me, right through the heart:

Quang-ha (the surly, angry teenage boy) says to Willow:

“I don’t want to know how you did it.  I want to believe you’re magic.”

And she is…just like my girl…magic.  And when other people see the magic in your kid, especially your “special” kid…it makes your heart want to burst open…because not everyone is going to get them…only the special ones, the ones who believe in magic.

Book Description from Booklist

*Starred Review* In a voice that is frank, charming, and delightfully odd, Willow Chance narrates the strange and heartbreaking circumstances that lead her to find an offbeat, patchwork quilt of a family. As an adopted, self-identified “person of color,” precocious genius Willow unabashedly knows that she is different, but her parents love and support her idiosyncrasies, such as wearing her gardening outfit to school, her preoccupation with disease, her anthropological curiosity about her peers, and her obsession with the number seven. That self-assuredness shines through Willow’s narrative and becomes crucial to her survival after the unexpected death of her parents, which makes Willow a prime candidate for life in a group home—an environment that could be disastrous for an unusual child like her. Luckily, she finds new friends who are compelled to protect her: Mai and her family, who live in the garage behind the nail salon they own, and Willow’s slouch of a guidance counselor, Dell. Sloan (I’ll Be There, 2011) has masterfully created a graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded characters who learn sweet—but never cloying—lessons about resourcefulness, community, and true resilience in the face of loss. Grades 7-10. --Sarah Hunter

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