Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s

Book - 2013
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Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.
Publisher: New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c2013.
ISBN: 9780803738553
Characteristics: 380 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Counting by sevens


From the critics

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JCLHeatherM Jan 03, 2020

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.

Aug 26, 2019

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.
Thank you.

Jul 30, 2019

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

Jun 30, 2019

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.

Sep 25, 2018

Loved. Genius girl suffers loss of family, but finds her place again. Excellent writing. Funny even with sad parts.

Jul 19, 2018

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.

Jul 04, 2018

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! ;)

Apr 14, 2018

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!!!! :) :) :)

JCLBeckyC Aug 08, 2017

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.

***spoiler alert***
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."

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Add Age Suitability
Nov 05, 2020

green_snake_2003 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 12

Jun 06, 2019

blue_kangaroo_639 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 70

Feb 09, 2019

FaithR thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 19

Jul 13, 2018

anglem123 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 13

violet_butterfly_8881 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 12

Feb 19, 2018

natulik1 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 09, 2017

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Sep 24, 2016

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Jul 05, 2016

janice8001 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 23, 2015

blue_llama_238 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 15

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Add a Quote
Jul 10, 2016

I am silent.

Aug 05, 2015

Science is AWESOME!!!!
-main character

May 31, 2015

I think waiting a long time for something makes it more gratifying.
The correlation between expectation and delivery of desire could no doubt be quantified into some kind of mathematical formula.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

Patti says that nothing is for certain.

That is the truest statement I've ever heard.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

I will see only what I want to see.

It's possible that's how people get through crisis.

The world where we live is so much in our head.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

I want to see this lady out the front gate and into her car and off the street and out of town and then removed from the county and then the whole state and finally relocated to the place they call Tornado Alley in Kansas.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

All reality . . . is a blender where hopes and dreams are mixed with fear and despair.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

No matter how hard they try, other people do not understand because I'm incapable of communication.

And that is why the deepest form of pain comes out as silence.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

She is like me.


I admire that in a person. The ability to keep your mouth shut is usually a sign of intelligence.

Introspection requires you to think and analyze.

It's hard to do that when you are blabbing away.

JCLChrisK Mar 18, 2014

Every person has lots of ingredients to make them into what is always a one-of-a-kind creation.

We are all imperfect genetic stews.


Add a Summary
Sep 02, 2015

Willow is adopted but after her parents death she started not to care about how she was when her parents were alive

Aug 05, 2015

awesome book!

irish505050 Jun 05, 2015

A smart girl named Willow, who is adopted, is heartbroken after her parents die. She has no family near, so she finds new friends.

Jul 21, 2014

This book is amazing. Willow is an odd girl. She is incredibly smart, and is interested in different things than everyone else in her grade. Her mind is advanced and talented. Willow must deal with disaster, and make something out of it. She has to grow a new beginning.


Add Notices
Aug 05, 2015

Other: parents die

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