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Willow Chance is just a little bit different. Unlike most other twelve-year-olds, she is obsessed with medicine and is a master gardener to boot. One day when she arrives home from school she is met with a tragedy no child should ever have to experience. Willow's vulnerability, strength and charm as she struggles to make sense of the changes ahead of her, and her ability to draw kindred spirits into her orbit, are heartwarming. I initially checked this book out for my 11-year-old daughter. Though it didn't immediately grab her, it ended up being me who read it to fulfill a category in 2021's Read Harder challenge.
A thought provoking book about the changes and stages of life and the importance of family (the one you are born with and the one that you form along the way). Author Holly Goldberg Sloan doesn't shy away from tough topics but rather tackles various forms of heartache with empathy and sincerity. There's also a variety of methods for coping with life, even counting by 7's.
I absolutely love the storyline; it brings tears and laughs and makes you fall in love with all the characters right from the start! There are so many morals that stick out, but one that I enjoyed was that unexpected changes might be hard at first, but you are going to make it through. The only fault that I have with this book is that it was a little confusing, it kept switching from the first-person point of view to third-person omniscient, then from past-tense to future-tense to current. It took me half-way through the book to realize it is a pattern. I have read many books, and have never seen a set-up like that, so maybe it was just my first-time experience that made it difficult to understand. Besides that, I would recommend this book to anyone. I am no experienced book review person since I am young, so many might not have my same thoughts.
A very touching story of a girl(Willow Chance) After her parents death.
The novel “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan is about a seemingly odd girl, Willow Chance, who struggles to fit in to a new school due to her giftedness and difference in interests. She starts meeting with a school counselor named Dell Duke who tries to put her in a box but is mystified by her, and she forms a gradual friendship with Mai, the sister of one of Dell’s other counselees (Quang-ha). Soon after, Willow goes home to find that both of her parents- her anchors in a new environment- have been killed in a car accident, changing everything and throwing her into an uncertain world. This book was one of my favorites during middle school because of its plain language and round characters. The bossiness of Mai, Quang-ha, and their mom, and the compelling, sometimes hilarious, situations that resulted in their actions led me to admire and connect with them and how they took charge of their world. I especially liked how the author used Willow to pose an interesting discussion of giftedness and show how it is often misunderstood or seen as an inconvenience. I believe this is a real situation that many gifted kids face- and a discussion that needs to happen. One aspect that may be frustrating to a reader is how at the start, Willow doesn’t speak up for herself and lets others put her in a box. However, she learns to assert herself more and stand up for what she wants and needs with the encouragement of her new family. Overall, I would give this book a 4/5 stars. Elena of the Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers
This book is about many things. It’s about lifestyle changes. It’s about the families we make for ourselves. It’s about what we all do to get through tough times and how we do it. And it’s about the unexpected changes that take place in your life, and as Pattie says nothing is certain. Everything is temporary in it’s own way. But that’s what makes it what it is. An ever changing garden that could be seen as a lot of different things through the minds of different people. It’s a great book and I fully recommend it.
Loved. Genius girl suffers loss of family, but finds her place again. Excellent writing. Funny even with sad parts.
This book is very touchable, Willow is a person with a distinct personality, she's different, but her story will make you have mixed emotions. Willow shares her interests towards her friends and the people who understand her the most. She has learned the hard way, no matter how much Willow Chance went through, life still goes on.
This book is very emotional. Im starting off by that sentence because there were dozens of scenes where you have to stay put to not start tearing up. I don't recommend this book to ages 10 and under because it is seriously melancholy. Anyway, It's a very beautiful story but also very saddening so beware! ;)
I don't know why some people claim this book isn't that good because it's not only good but AMAZING!!! If you guys haven't read this book yet, you're missing a lot. This book is wonderfully written which will make you cry, laugh and wonder; all the elements in this book fit perfectly together and I have to say this is one of my favorite books. It starts out a bit slow but by the end of the first/second chapter, you wouldn't want to stop reading. I finished this book all in one day; I just couldn't help it... :) I am reading this book for my class Lit Circles and I think it's probably one of the best books out of the 14 titles chosen. Also, some other similar good books are "Fish in a Tree" and "Out of My Mind". These two books have similar plots and all reminds you of how being different is totally normal. I have also loved "The London Eye Mystery", "The Barcode Tattoo" and any books by Jay Asher. These books are a bit different than "Counting By 7s" but are all worth reading. Have fun and Happy Reading!!!! :) :) :)
Many of the plot twists are remarkably unbelievable in this story of a gifted girl searching for family connection in a world full of impermanence, but just go with it and you'll be rewarded with a rich, wonderful reading experience. Readalike: The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty.
I found this interview question and answer at the back of the book helpful for understanding some of the unbelievable plot twists:
Q: "How do you answer that Pattie buying the building in the end doesn't seem possible? How would she get that kind of money, and if she did have it, why would she have lived with her children in a garage across the alley from the nail salon?"
A: "What's interesting is that this is one of the things in the book that is based on some reality. My husband served on a jury and the issue was ownership of a building in downtown Los Angeles. A man who was not documented in this country in terms of his immigration status, and who spoke very little English, had worked for nineteen years at a car wash. He saved $180,000 and then was able to purchase a building. He lived in very diminished circumstances with his family, but by saving and scrimping he was able to pull them out of poverty. The court case involved an unscrupulous Realtor who got the man to sign a document in English giving her the title of the building.
"My husband was amazed at how hard the man had worked, and how much he had been able to save. (The jury, by the way, ruled in favor of the man.) I took the idea of that situation when I first started thinking about Pattie. She has put everything she has into her nail salon business. She believes that the garage across the alley is enough of a home for her children. She sees it as a big studio apartment. (It's not: it's a garage, but she views it all through the prism of growing up in true poverty in Vietnam.)
"And so she saves her money for the big purchase, which for her would no doubt have been to buy the commercial building where the nail salon is located.
"But then the Gardens of Glenwood become available and she has seen how having more space equals more freedom. More room for 'roots' for her family to grow. She is a planner and the hardest worker in the world because she's had to be. She doesn't want a thing to go to waste, and she believes success in business means watching over what has become her life's work. Especially when the father of her children disappointed her by leaving. She is a single mother. An immigrant. Her choices might seem punishing, but they are to protect her family. Or so she thinks."
Counting by 7’s is one of my favourite books that I read during Grade 6. The entire story is perfectly written and portrayed about a girl who is extremely smart, her visits to her guidance counsellor, her parents love towards her, and finding a new home within friendships. I particularly loved how her “gifted” personality was shown, almost as though she never realized how much potential she had and she never felt the need to show it off. Seeing the diversity from the taxi driver to the Vietnamese nail parlour owners to Dell Duke, it seems as though Willow is living a turmoil of emotions and events that are all amazing to read. Rating 5/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
This book is amazing, and makes you truly love your family and friends. If you are going to read this book (this is not even an option, READ IT) make sure you have some tissues near by, for the author did a good job of describing the emotions the characters are feeling. This book looks through the eyes of a genius, with a very sad fate, but in the end makes the best of the situation. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
it was an okay book but i couldn't get into it. its supposed to be really good but i don't understand why after reading it.
Shockingly captivating. What seemed like another young adult quick read turns out to be a story that is appropriate and moving for all ages. I love that all the characters had their perception (You truly feel the emotions of each character) written about throughout the book, but the main character Willow, truly stole the show. I devilishly wish (I say this because they would probably fail to do the book justice) they would make a film adaptation of this story, but casting some one as Willow would be the most difficult task. She is such a complex, yet simple and for a lot of the story quiet, character. She is wise beyond her 12 years and everyone who meets her can see that. This books shows readers that family is what you make it and the most unlikely of circumstances and people can come together in rough times.
I loved Willow's character, and really all of the characters of this story. You hate Dell Duke, but you also learn to love him--the growth of his character is by far my favorite, and I feel by the end of the book, we know he's not done growing, but he's going to keep working on himself. I loved the theme of family in this book--it's not who gave birth to you, it's the people around you that take care of you and love you no matter what.
When tragedy strikes Willow's family, she isn't left with much, since she's not really the kind of person that makes friends easily. But Willow is resourceful and a quirky bunch of friends all come together because of her. Powerful story!
Willow Chance counts by 7s. Adopted as a baby, Willow is a highly gifted child who relates more to her parents than to other kids. So Willow sticks to doing advanced math equations, diagnosing medical conditions, tending to her garden, and counting all things in 7s.
That was the old Willow, anyways.
The new Willow no longer counts by 7s or sees the world in colour.
Readers will be swept along Willow’s story as she creates a make-shift family out of a taxi-driver with a potentially cancerous mole on the back of his neck, a Vietnamese family who live in the back of their nail salon, and a struggling school councilor who lacks life purpose.
Full of creative language and told from the view of a brilliant 12 year old who goes through the worse kind of loss, Counting by 7s is full of heartbreak, family, and the hope the future holds.
KC Rating: 5/5
Starting this book seemed awkward, as we start in the future and then lead into flashbacks, but after the flashbacks everything makes sense. The secondary characters are amazingly flushed out and vibrant, and the third-person perspectives that are sprinkled throughout the story are just toppings to an enjoyable, relatable, and beautiful coming-of-age journey.
Really great book. Intense and sad but completely clean. It was one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone who needs a good book.
This was my first ever book I borrowed and read from The Ipswich Library. I found this book inspiring in the way Holly Goldberg Sloan describes Willow's life after her parents die quite early on in the book with other people trying their hardest to help.