"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, 2013.

This book is getting a lot of positive buzz and I know some librarians who absolutely love it, but this is not a book for me. Although I appreciate the ideas that one person can have a dramatic impact on others' lives and misfits can come together to make a family, and I am always happy to find another positive book with characters of color, I had many problems with this book that prevented me from really enjoying it. I couldn't willingly suspend my disbelief over many parts of the plot. Things frequently came together in a ways that were almost magical. Since this story seems otherwise realistic, I found that jarring. I don't want to write spoilers here, but  this occurs many times. Also, I always felt at arm's length from Willow and the rest of the characters and I had difficulty believing in her as a child, albeit a genius child. I think that the continual switch of narration from first person to third person contributed to that feeling. Finally, the ending felt false to me and completely changed my opinion of one character. These are just my opinions, so by all means read and judge for yourself.

What it's about:

Twelve year old Willow Chance's life is shaken when she loses both of her parents in a car accident, and there is no next of kin to collect her. Because she is essentially a genius who her school mistakenly views as a cheater, she has been having counseling sessions with Dell Duke, who is intrigued by her abilities, but is seriously unfit for his job. Because of these appointments, she has also met the commanding teenage Mai and her troubled brother Quang-ha.When Willow is informed about her parents' deaths, these people, plus Mai and Quang-ha's mother Pattie, group together to temporarily take care of her. This situation and Willow herself bring about plenty of growth and change for all of the characters, until Willow finds the new place that she belongs.

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