Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
(Dial, 2013, 384 pages)
I loved this book for so many reasons – I wouldn’t even no where to begin. Counting by 7s follows 12-year-old Willow Chance as she starts at her new middle school. Willow is adopted and she’s… unique. Her parents have adapted to their daughter and her interests because, truth be told, Willow is something of a genius. She has her quirks, but they suit her and they serve their purpose.
Willow manages to acquire some new people in her life as she finds her world taking an unexpected turn. These are people with their own struggles but who who want only the best for her, and she for them. Told from a variety of points of view we see the clarity through which Willow views her own life. We meet her first real (and best) friend, Mai (who Willow quickly learns Vietnamese to talk to); Quang-ho, Mai’s brother who treats Willow the way any older brother would; Pattie, Mai’s mom and nail salon owner; Dell, Willow’s guidance counselor who has a number of internal struggles he’s gradually trying to figure out; and Jairo, a taxi driver whose life Willow manages to change in ways he never could have expected. All these characters have some impact on each other and Willow, and it was a pleasure to read the way this whole story played out.