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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Newbery-winning Rules meets Counting by 7s in this affecting story of a girl’s devotion to her brother and what it means to be home When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary. After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new …

Counting Thyme

by Melanie Conklin

Overall Book Review:

In Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin, Thyme’s life is basically thrown into upheaval as they move across the country to New York City so her little brother can be a part of a cancer trial. She leaves behind her best friend, her grandmother, and everything familiar, but keeps telling herself it’s so her brother will get better and it would only be temporary. Because she sees it as a temporary move, she doesn’t really settle in and find her way. With one foot in California and one foot in NYC, she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere. Trying to make friends is hard for her and her best friend in California seems to be moving on to other friends. Finally, when her little brother had a major health scare, she realizes that life is not only fragile, but what you make it, Thyme realizes she needs to adjust her attitude and make the best of their circumstances.

Counting Thyme is a novel that shows the raw emotion of what relatives go through when someone faces the diagnosis of cancer. How Thyme deals with everything seem real and relatable. But this novel also does a wonderful job addressing the complexities of middle school friendships and how to navigate hurt feelings, being new, and feeling different.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation. 

Violence/Gore:  None 

Sex/Nudity:  Boy and girl hold hands (2 times); boy kisses girl on the cheek.

Mature Subject Matter:

Cancer, death.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I remember as a young girl sneaking out of my bedroom to read by the hall light my parents left on, just so I could finish an exciting book. I’ve always loved books and reading is somewhat of a passion for me–something I’m passing on to my kids. I have four children and I have a hard time making them turn out the light when they say, “But I just got to the good part”.