Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Review

"In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, 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."

You'll probably like Counting by 7s if you were autistic. The words in the book simply trip over one another as they try, try to tell the story of this strange girl named Willow Chance. Willow Chance obviously has something like high-function autism or maybe something along the lines. But the point is that she isn't a very good narrator. Perhaps that's why the author sometimes slip off into other character's POV, such as Willow's parents' pitying last moments, her new foster family's mind, and the school counselor's nasty and interesting thoughts.

Need more different sentences! Counting by 7s often include simple sentences, even fewer are complicated sentences. The sentences get rather boring.

-Simple Sentence: The cat walks.
-More complicated sentence: Looking left and right, the cat walks carefully, as if inspecting the street. 

Basically, there's a lot of simple sentences. Like the example I'd given for simple sentence, the sentences in Counting by 7s often include little details other than the subject and the action verb/passive verb. 

There's a few words I can say for the plot and pretty is not one of them. Boring and dull and dry and empty are a few descriptive adjectives I can use. The plot includes other people's POV and flash forwards, but it doesn't get be very interested in Counting by 7s. Other than some small hilarious moments, it doesn't get any better. 

Willow Chance is an orphan who seems practically perfect in every way. Other than the fact that she likes 7s and gardening, can finish the state exam in under twenty minutes, is pretty much Albert Einstein-level prodigy, and is very lucky, Willow Chance seems to be a normal girl living in a normal world with unfortunate events. But Willow Chance isn't a normal girl, which makes Counting by 7s very unique. 

The ending of Counting by 7s isn't going to tear you up. Pretty much every situation, except death, is thoroughly solved, usually with a somewhat small intervention by Willow Chance. Characters change, because they are touched by her. And this sounds very similar to a red-haired girl named Anne Shirley. 

One Last Note: The main character doesn't always count by sevens.

Rating: Three out of Five 

No comments:

Post a Comment