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The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

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Counting by 7s: a book review

Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, originally published in 2013.
Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, originally published in 2013.

“A second can feel like forever if what follows is heartbreak.” -Counting By 7s

I found Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan truly worth the read. The author did a very excellent job making the life of the main character, Willow Chance, relatable. Even if you hardly have much in common with Willow and her hard life, you can still slip in and somehow still relate to everything she’s going through. For me, I tend to just become the main character for every book I read, and Willow Chance’s story was written in such a way that it made it way easier for me to “become” her.

The story starts with Willow at an ice cream place with her counselor, Dell Duke, who she had been assigned to because she had been wrongly accused of cheating on a standardized test, high schooler Mai Nguyen, and Mai’s brother, Quang-ha. She had called her parents to let them know that she would be late getting home, and she did think it was weird that they hadn’t answered the call or replied to the voicemail she’d left them. Normally, someone would get back right away. But she doesn’t think about it too much – until Dell Duke pulls into her neighborhood and they see a police car parked in her driveway.

Willow then learns from the policemen that her parents had died in a car crash, and that she was suddenly all alone in the world. She doesn’t know what to do, and feels utterly lost, so she goes back and recalls everything that has led up to this moment, asking the reader to come with her, and she starts the day she was adopted  – the 7th day of the 7th month. It’s no wonder 7 is her favorite number!

Through many twists and turns, Willow discovers that she can push through all of this and overcome her sadness, and suddenly, she’s a new person. She no longer has an obsession about the number seven like she used to, for starters. Her two obsessions about health conditions and plants have begun to be a big part of her past, too. Most importantly, though, she has found a new family, the biggest change of all. If her life collapsed with the death of her parents, then it could be rebuilt with a new one – but of course, the memory of her first life would stick with her no matter what.

I do think that the author could have made some scenes in the book a bit more interesting; I came across a few parts that I felt like skipping, but nonetheless it’s still great. I recommend this book for ages 10+. It’s a really good realistic fiction book, and like said before, is definitely worth the read. You can get this book at the Clague library, AADL, or online.

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About the Contributor
Saanvi Kulkarni
Saanvi Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Saanvi is a 7th grader at Clague Middle School. This is her first year doing yearbook/newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, write stories, do karate and play piano, as well as hanging out with her friends. Also, she spends way too much time wishing for a pet.

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    GranNov 6, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    My goodness San-San! This sounds like an amazing book. I’ll definitely check it out!