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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: 'Counting by 7s'

©2013 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Book Reviews

By Holly Goldberg Sloan
Middle grade contemporary realistic fiction
August 2013
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780803738553

Willow Chance is a quirky genius of a 12-year-old whose adopted parents know how to nurture her talents and interests. They die in a car crash at the start of this novel. Willow doesn't have any other family.

What she does have are two teens she met when sent to a school counselor (her teacher didn't believe she could ace the standardized tests so quickly so must be cheating somehow), their Vietnamese mother, the inept counselor himself and a taxi driver.

Willow's voice works in the sections where she describes the world through her own perspective, because the author is talented enough to show us both Willow's perspective and the way other people would see what is happening.

But the novel doesn't work as well as a story for younger people, because the most interesting characters are the adults. They're the ones who grow and change under Willow's influence. Looking at the novel as a reader, it was enjoyable enough. But looking at the novel as a middle school librarian, it would be difficult to justify spending money in these days of vastly reduced budgets on a book that adults would like more than students.

©2013 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Book Reviews and reprinted with permission

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