Counting Backwards
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Counting Backwards

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  372 ratings  ·  70 reviews
In this haunting and hopeful debut novel, a teen’s court-mandated psychiatric residency prompts a change in perspective from which there is no looking back.

Taylor Truwell is a sixteen-year-old girl from Florida with a troubled past, a neglectful mother, a seemingly callous father, and an urge to flee. When Taylor is caught with a stolen car, her reaction lands he...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published August 14th 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
It is important, especially after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, to take a careful look at the way mental illness is portrayed in popular media and literature. There is a stigma attached to mental illness and shrinks are almost always accompanied by an eye roll and a moue of disbelief in their capability to help. I found Counting Backwards to be really refreshing in its approach to mental illness or, if not illness, a disorder perhaps. An inability to work through your emotions and...more
The somber cover, the serious summary, even the title that conjures up hints of some ambiguous psychiatric disorder, all the signs point to Counting Backyards being a serious look at one girl’s stint in rehab. And it is, but don’t think for a second this is some depressing book that has its characters spewing a lifetime of regrets, failures, and issues in group therapy, Laura Lascarso’s debut is actually a surprisingly quirky and sometimes more than a little silly look at how to survive a behavi...more
Katie Bucklein
I graciously received a copy from Simon & Schuster, so big shout-out to them! Thank you!

Before I began to read this, I was a tad wary. I'm not sure why; it just was how I felt after reading the summary and examining the cover (I'm not a huge fan of covers with faces [or girls in dresses] but this just had something...more...maybe the 3-D effect my sister said when she saw it). Anyway, going on. I finished Counting Backwards within a day, I was that hooked from start to finish.

Book Sushi
It took me a while to pick this one up from my TBR pile. Why i waited so long to read this, I dont know.

I really enjoyed this book. It was similar to "Girl Interrupted" The characters all had growth and it kept you interested. It starts off with Taylor being sent to Sunny Medows, which is half boarding school, half psychiatric ward. Upon her arrival she meets Margo, has run ins with the "Latina Queens" and has mysterious late night meetings in the dark with a guy. I really liked Taylor, she was...more
Counting Backwards, by Laura Lascarso, was a touching novel about the complications of discovering oneself. The protagonist of Lascarso's debut finds it difficult to let go of her anger and trust anyone but herself, but she eventually realizes what it means to love and be loved.

Taylor is a 16 year old who is angry with the world. She's angry with her father, for leaving her mother, she's angry with her mother, an alcoholic, and she's angry that she's ended up in Sunny Meadows, a juvenile psychi...more
So many teen books these days make me think just about anyone can publish. But this book definitely feels like the author has some maturity as a writer and also hired an editor. There is a certain cleanness to the writing style.

This isn't anything like the other books I've read about youth lock-up facilities. She doesn't get away with running. And the author shows us the best world of therapy--no one in the book is an icky psychiatrist or cruel beyond belief security guard. You do really get th...more
When Taylor gets caught stealing a car to escape from her alcoholic mother and the panic attacks she gets, she is sent to a center in order to recover and also to complete her probation time. Taylor is angry with her parents, hates being at the center, and is determined to use any means necessary in order to escape.

After various attempts (which, by the way, was really fun to see her planning) and a refusal to participate in various aspects including therapy and school, Taylor starts to make fri...more
Paula HG
This story is sweet and kind of deep because you get to identify with the MC so profoundly you feel very conflicted because you see what the MC does and you know that's wrong, but you also know that if you were in the MC's place, you would do the same thing...

Counting Backwards is about letting go. It's about knowing some things are screwed up but there is nothing you can do, so you have to let go of your anger, of your sadness and of your conflicted feelings because you're not getting anywhere....more
Alice Belikov  First lady Ivashkov


Counting backwards tells the story of a misunderstood sixteen year old named Taylor Truewell, who is mistaken as a 'Troubled Teen.' Her mother is a drunk and a disconnected father who is the main reason why she was sent to Sunny Meadows after Taylor has runaway from home in a stolen car. Sunny Meadows is a maximum security facility where patience receive intensive psychiatric care and Taylor soon discovers it is not what it seems and is determined to f...more
Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso Summary onGoodReads.Firstly, the cover doesn’t go with the content of the book. They should’ve put an angry girl on it, because that is what Taylor is, angry all the time. She has to spend time at this special boarding school --- read juvenile psychiatric correctional facility, after being arrested for stealing a car and trying to run away.
Annoying, heated and fuming Taylor is angry, well, at her parents – mostly - and nothing that it is said to her goes thro...more
Lisseth (Read-a-holicZ)
**Originally HERE on Read-A-holicZ**

"This book was such an emotional ride, full of love, forgiveness, and finding out how to change & discover one's true self. I was COMPLETELY immersed in the book, it IS one of my FAVORITE YA contemporary debuts of this year!"

From the above praise, you know that I LOVED this book! I am always looking for those YA contemporary books that really attract me & can capture my attention, and this book did that from the start. The Summary in itself made me WAN...more
*A copy was provided by Atheneum for review purposes*

I’ve been on a contemporary run these past few weeks, and this is yet another one to add to the list. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This book is sad, sad, sad. But it was still a good idea, and I loved how Lascarso wrote it very well. The story line was great, and the staging for the escape was really good too. I loved that Lascarso didn’t make it too easy and the events just came together perfectly. I always love happy endings, and this one was cer...more
Originally posted at:

I had been itching to start this one the moment I got home from vacation, and finally having to for the blog tour, I managed to read this in two sittings: before going to sleep and the first thing I did when I woke up. It was seriously that good. Counting Backwards is exactly what it says it is: an enrapturing novel about Taylor's challenge to find herself, love and come to terms with the people who surround her. Laura Lascarso's writ...more
"I’m not a person to them; I’m a problem that needs fixing. And there’s nothing wrong with me.”

For a tale of girl on self-destruct, COUNTING BACKWARDS went quickly… yet somehow also almost too neatly. It’s this last that could explain my lukewarm reception I have for it. I’d have loved it to be messier; I’d have been more than interested were Taylor less 1-2-3. She and her life certainly were all that at first, but there’s actually only one moment that had me chest-clutching because it was so...more
This was one that I borrowed from the library before Christmas, but kept putting off reading because there were other books I wanted to read first. Well, I finally got around to reading this, and it turned out to be a very quick read – I finished it in two sittings.

Here is the summary from the Kobo store:

Taylor Truwell is a sixteen-year-old girl from Florida with a troubled past, a neglectful mother, a seemingly callous father, and an urge to flee. When Taylor is caught with a stolen car, her v...more
Shalena (Writer Quirk)
I am so glad I had the opportunity to read Counting Backwards. Lascarso does a masterful job of capturing the twisting and changing nature of people and she digs deep into all that Taylor was, is, and wants to be. Often it isn't pretty and it can be extremely frustrating watching Taylor ruin things for herself again and again. But ultimately, this is a story of redemption and hope, and it is definitely worth the time and will leave you thinking well after the last page.


Find my full review...more
I'm biased as the author is my friend but I really liked it.
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
Counting Backwards is a book I've been meaning to read for a while, but I never managed to get around to it until now. I liked Counting Backwards but not as much as I was expecting.

A big reason why I didn't like it as much as I thought is Taylor herself. Her time in a psychiatric correctional facility is interesting, especially because she has a lot of issues to work through. But I really wish we saw more of her life before she ends up in court. Her issues with her parents definitely come up, bu...more
Mandi Kaye Ottaway
Reviewed at

I had mixed feelings about Counting Backwards. The first half of the book was pretty much meh. It seemed very after-school special to me. I felt that Taylor was selfish and I wanted nothing more than to reach through the pages of the book and throttle her.

Maybe that just means Lascarso writes angsty teenager well? Then I realized that having any sort of emotional reaction at all to a book means that the author is doing a really good job.

By the...more
Molli Moran
See more reviews at Once Upon a Prologue!

In Counting Backwards, we meet Taylor Truwell just as her father has committed her to Sunny Meadows, a correctional facility where Taylor feels she doesn't belong. Taylor is in a downward spiral brought on by dealing with her alcoholic mother; caught between a rock and a hard place, Taylor has acted out, and must pay the consequences. I felt for her at once with a rush of sympathy, but more than that, I believed in her. Lascarso created a character with...more
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Taylor Truwell's home life sucked a lot. With an alcoholic Mom who needs a parent to care for her (not the other way around like it should be), an absent and cold Father she has no reason to stick around. So she steals a car and tries to run away. But when she's caught the Judge throws her into Sunny Meadows, a juvenile psychiatric hospital, per her Dad's recommendation. Angry, scared and seriously lost Taylor is now being forced to take a good long look at her life and why things are going so b...more
I liked this book. It's a crossover that will appeal to Young Adult readers and fans of good, clean books about teenagers who are adults. In this book there is some mild cussing (there may be an f-bomb)and some teen kissing but the real story is about a young girl committed to a psych ward for treatment of her behavioral problems, when it is plain that some of those behavioral problems are really her parents'. Taylor's mom is an alcoholic who depends on Taylor to take care of her. Taylor's fathe...more
Lea (YA Book Queen)
Taylor Truwell is angry – at her drunken mother, and especially at her impossible-to-please father, since he's the one who convinced the judge to send Taylor to Sunny Meadows. From trying to break out of Sunny Meadows to trying to fit in so she can be released, Taylor goes on a personal journey to find out who she is and who she wants to be. Right from the beginning, Taylor's strong voice and personality easily captured my attention, and Taylor's character growth throughout the novel is wonderfu...more
Mickey Reed
See full review here!

While I read this pretty quickly, I wasn't ever hooked to the story. I was mildly intrigued until close to the end, about 3/4 of the way through. By then I felt invested enough to have to finish it, if only to find out what happens to Margo, AJ, and even Taylor herself.

Taylor thinks she doesn't belong at Sunny Meadows, and maybe she doesn't. But she needs some emotional help after dealing with panic attacks for years and stealing her mom's boyfriend-of-the-month's car to ru...more
Magan (Rather Be Reading)
[Review originally published on Rather Be Reading!]

Normally, if someone’s first offense is stealing a car, they don’t typically end up in a psychiatric facility.

Probation? Sure.
Community service? Definitely.

Let this be a testament to how over-the-top Taylor’s father was. He had her best intentions in mind when he requested she be placed there, but from an outsider’s perspective, the entire family should have taken up camp in a facility. Taylor’s parents split years before and she chose to stay w...more
Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
You've seen that cover and thought to yourself, "What is wrong with that girl?" I thought the same thing and that is exactly why I wanted to read this book. We meet Taylor as she is checking into a psychiatric facility after a failed runaway attempt. As you can guess, Taylor isn't too thrilled about being there. Even though she was absolutely miserable living with her alcoholic mother, home was better than this place. She gets on the wrong side of some female patients and just when she is at her...more
I got this book also from my Teen Read Week pile. ;) I think this is the second to last so I've almost finished the whole pile!

The Cover:
Hmmm. I find the cover hard to look at. LOL. I don't know which person I should look at. But I must say, she looks pretty looking down like that. I don't think she has any make-up on. If she does, it must be light make-up.

The Characters:
Her name is Taylor Truwell. She goes to Sunny Meadows which is a place where teens get treatment in a juvenile psychiatric co...more
Taylor Truell keeps running away. She wants to get away from her mother’s neglect, her father’s strict rules, and most likely, from the panic and anger she can’t understand. Enrolled in the psychiatric facility called Sunny Meadows for stealing a car and resisting arrest, she pushes against improvement as much as she can to run away from the notion that she might be crazy.

The novel’s idea of running away from problems in a fit of denial is common in young adult literature, but in Counting Backwa...more
Received book from publisher as part of Laura Lascarso's Blog Tour.
Please visit for more details.

I read Counting Backwards in one sitting. Laura Lascarso’s writing just flows, making it very hard to put the book down. Taylor is a good narrator, I didn’t love her but I needed to know what would happen. Personally my favourite character was Margo but Dr Deb is also pretty cool.

Taylor is deposited at Sunny Meadows by her father, who walked out on he...more
Counting Backwards is an amazing story that I breezed through quickly. The story and the characters are well-written, and the emotions with the story are portrayed well.


Taylor is a great main character. She becomes tired of living with her alcoholic mom and watching her mom bring home different men from the bar each night, so she decides to run away from home. She steals the car that her mom's guy of the night brought home, and the police catch her. She is sent to Sunny Me...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Smashed
  • The Waiting Sky
  • Before You Go
  • Perfect Escape
  • Between You & Me
  • The Space Between Us
  • Never Enough
  • All These Lives
  • Lucky Fools
  • Radiate
  • Life is But a Dream
  • Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous
  • Small Damages
  • Supergirl Mixtapes
  • Narc
  • The Opposite of Hallelujah
  • Wanted
  • Forget Me Not
COUNTING BACKWARDS is Laura Lascarso’s debut novel released by Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) in August 2012. She lives in in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, three chickens and a dog named Lucy.
More about Laura Lascarso...
Fast Car

Share This Book

“I exhale slowly, ten, nine, eight... counting backwards without meaning to, but it feels better than counting up, because at one it will be over, right?” 4 likes
“...You're worried that you're going to go out of here and mess up your lines or trip on your high heels, but you're not. You're going to blow them away, just like you always do. You're a woman who knows what she wants, and you know how to get it. You're going to be the most, Margo, to say the least.” 2 likes
More quotes…