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Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Published: 2013-08-29
Hardcover : 384 pages
3 members reading this now
18 clubs reading this now
1 member has read this book
A New York Times Bestseller. 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.  A Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014-2015 Master List.  A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.  An E.B. ...
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Introduction

A New York Times Bestseller. 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.  A Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014-2015 Master List.  A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.  An E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Book. A Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee.  A National Public Radio Best Book of the Year.

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 fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.


"In achingly beautiful prose, Holly Goldberg Sloan has written a delightful tale of transformation that's a celebration of life in all its wondrous, hilarious and confounding glory. Counting by 7s is a triumph."--Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

"Holly Goldberg Sloan writes about belonging in a way I've never quite seen in any other book. This is a gorgeous, funny, and heartwarming novel that I'll never forget."--John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back

"Willow Chance subtly drew me into her head and her life, so much so that I was holding my breath for her by the end. Holly Goldberg Sloan has created distinct characters who will stay with you long after you finish the book."--Sharon Creech, Newbery Award-winning author of Walk Two Moons



 

Editorial Review

Amazon Best Books of 2013 : Counting by 7's is a delightful, powerful, and beautifully written book that I can’t forget and want to give to everyone around me. Holly Goldberg Sloan's quirky characters nestle into your heart and stay there, particularly 12-year-old Willow Chance. A young genius obsessed with the number seven, plants, and diagnosing medical conditions (especially skin disorders that she can surreptitiously photograph) Willow is a true outsider looking for a way in. Her parents tether her to the world, and when they are killed in a car crash Willow’s comfortable sphere is shattered. Though a tragedy, the loss of her parents is also Willow’s entry into the lives of others. The bond she forms with an unlikely cast of characters is heartfelt and transformative. Like Willow’s beloved plants, these are people putting down new roots and rising toward the sun. --Seira Wilson

Excerpt

chapter 1

willow chance

A genius shoots at something no
one else can see, and hits it.

We sit together outside the Fosters Freeze at a sea-green, metal picnic table.

All four of us.

We eat soft ice cream, which has been plunged into a vat of liquid chocolate (that then hardens into a crispy shell).

I don’t tell anyone that what makes this work is wax. Or to be more accurate: edible, food-grade paraffin wax.

As the chocolate cools, it holds the vanilla goodness prisoner.

Our job is to set it free.

Ordinarily, I don’t even eat ice-cream cones. And if I do, I obsess in such a precise way as to prevent even a drop of disorder.

But not today.

I’m in a public place.

I’m not even spying.

And my ice-cream cone is a big, drippy mess.

I’m right now someone that other people might find interesting to observe.

Why?

Well first of all, I’m speaking Vietnamese, which is not my “native tongue.”

I really like that expression because in general, I think people don’t give this contracting muscle credit for how much work it does.

So thank you, tongue.

Sitting here, shaded by the afternoon sun, I’m using my Vietnamese whenever I can, which turns out to be often. I’m talking to my new friend Mai, but even her always-surly and scary-because-he’s-older big brother, Quang-ha, says a few words to me in their now only semi- ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Losing a loved one can be a very difficult experience. This is especially true for Willow Chance, who loses both parents at a young age and is left alone in a world that she doesn’t fully understand. Have you ever been in a situation that made you feel as lonely as Willow? What would you have done if you were in her position?

2. Eventually Willow finds comfort and hope from five very different and unexpected friends. Have you ever lost anyone with whom you were particularly close? If so, did anyone help you cope? If not, have you been that person for someone else?

3. Counting by 7s is about the true meaning of family and how the definition can be fluid. What is your definition of family? Do you have any friends you would consider family?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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by JooCho (see profile) 03/08/17

 
by laurieungs (see profile) 02/27/15

 
  "Counting by 7's"by cvzcmc (see profile) 01/21/15

A beautifully, well written young adult book that is engaging for everyone.

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