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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

An AMAZON Best Book of the Year 2013. A Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten Book-- #4, Best Books of Autumn 2013. B.E.A. Buzz Book Award 2013. Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014-2015 Master List. In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn't kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now. Suddenly Willow's world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a…

Counting by 7s

by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Overall Book Review:

All the good things you may hear about Counting by 7s are true.  It is one of the best middle grade books of 2013.  In some ways it makes one think of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper–not because the themes or stories are alike, but because the caliber of the story feels the same and the protagonists are so compelling.

Author Holly Goldberg Sloan voices one of the more memorable middle grade characters in recent memory:  Willow Chance, a girl genius with a lot of genuine struggles.  Willow tells her story in sometimes terse, but always poetic prose.  From the opening pages, it is impossible not to love her; it is impossible not to feel her pain.  With excellent supporting characters and redemptive themes about living, family, hope, and change, Counting by 7s is an affirming and rewarding read.  Highly recommended!  Put it at the top of your reading list.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore: Report of a miscarriage; report of an accident; report of accident with deaths (non-detailed); character falls and injuries self with mention of blood and need for stitches.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to a couple attempting to conceive (some innuendo in reference); reference to teenage pregnancy; characters watching TV shows with “hot girls”.

Mature Subject Matter:

Adoption; Foster Care; Death of a Parent; Family and Personal Crisis; Ethics.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

None noted

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!