Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Counting by 7s” as Want to Read:
Counting by 7s
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Counting by 7s

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  34,087 Ratings  ·  5,199 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Dial Books (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Counting by 7s, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lorraine This book ends in the best possible way a book about the death of a child's parents could end. I loved it.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lola  Reviewer
Apr 22, 2017 Lola Reviewer rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, grief
A second can feel like forever if what follows is heartbreak.

Loss. It’s a universal state of feeling. While it’s true that it doesn’t spare anyone, people react differently to it. Still, society has provided us with five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Willow knows this. She is highly gifted. If she could, she would spend entire days studying nature. She can tell you you’re ill just by spending ten minutes in your company. So of course she’s aware that one day los
My friend, Colby, has been raving about this book for months, but I was afraid it would make me cry. It did, but not in the ways I expected. This heartbreaking story is filled with laughter, hope, and light. Willow is an unforgettable character and her story will resonate with anyone who has suffered loss or change. The secondary characters are interesting and well-drawn. In a sea of great middle-grade books this year, Counting by 7s is a standout.
Jun 26, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great coming of age book!!!

It was sad, heartwarming, and wonderfully funny at parts. It is a "children's book", but reads more like a YA and has elements that will capture the heart of an adult.

From a full disclosure perspective, I am odd and I believe that my husband and son are a bit different as well... It is a lot easier to be weird as an adult than as a youngster going through middle school. Kids can be cruel and it is not fun to feel friendless in a world full of people!

With that being sa
Dec 02, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it
I work at an elementary school and over the years I've met hundreds of children. The vast majority of them lie in the great bell of the bell curve, but there have been a smattering of outliers over the years. They've been weird, because that's what it means to be hanging out on the edges of the curve, and for some of them I've taken a deep breath, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best for them in middle school. Because their weird makes them fabulous kids and will make them fabulous adults. ...more
Neil (or bleed)
I totally adored this book and its characters.

Counting by 7s is absolutely a heartwarming novel that tells a realistic and profound story of a girl who lost her adoptive parents in a car accident. A coming-of-age novel that shows the growth and understanding of a little girl towards life and the people around her. A sweet and sad story of a genius child who just wants to make friends and love them and be loved back.

I bought this book for the fact that the main character, Willow Chance, is a geni
Oct 28, 2013 Shelley rated it it was ok
Shelves: youth, ijones, mocknewbery
An excellent introduction to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl phenomenon for kids. Watch the quirky, plucky, feisty, vocabulary obsessed orphan genius change the lives of everyone around her, just by existing. Whoo.

Obviously, not wowed. It had a very magical world sort of feel to it, a bit of fairy tale in its oddness. They kept saying she was a genius, but except for a few offscreen things (passing tests for adults), you never felt that. Also, before her parents' deaths (which, how odd to have the di
Sep 16, 2014 Elyse rated it liked it
"It said I was highly gifted.
Are people lowly gifted?
Or medium gifted?
Or just gifted? It's possible that all labels are curses. Unless they are cleaning products.
Because its my opinion it's not really a great idea to see people as one thing.
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. ( THIS WAS MY FAVORITE QUOTE.... and near the first half of this book -- so I wasn't tired -YET- of this child's chatter)

Sam Bloom
There is no such thing as a perfect book.
But I believe pretty strongly that there IS such a thing as the right book at the right time for the right person.
Counting by 7s was the right book at the right time for me. And for that reason I will probably love it forever.
But it certainly isn't a perfect book. In fact, there were some issues that, at many times, would have been deal breakers for me.
Like the author's apparent aversion to paragraphs. What's wrong with writing in paragraphs? Why the need
The Reading Countess
Apr 27, 2013 The Reading Countess rated it it was amazing
It's hard to garner five stars from me. Four stars? Yes. But five? That's nearly impossible. If Goodreads had seven stars, I would award it just that.

This is the story of Willow, a genius who simply has never fit in-until tragedy strikes and she is forced to find her niche in a world that simply doesn't seem to have space for someone like her. Or does it?

Counting By 7s is about what truly makes a family, about acceptance and the human spirit to overcome and adapt. It's about being open and conf
Whitney Atkinson
Mar 02, 2015 Whitney Atkinson rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I'm a bit disappointed in this. It started out with a flashback that didn't end for about 50 pages, and I loved everything then. The main character is so smart and quirky and such a role model. But then it snaps back to reality when she's trying to recover from a family tragedy and I found that the book got really boring. Her bright and intelligent personality went away, and I couldn't make sense of a lot that happened with the plot. I didn't understand a lot of the character interactio
Dec 20, 2013 Samuel rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
Counting by 7s is the story of Willow Chance, a precocious 12-year-old whose parents are killed in an automobile accident. It details the aftermath of this tragedy, and Willow's attempts to build a new life and a new home with a cast of other people who don't quite fit in.

The book is getting a fair amount of awards buzz, and a lot of reviewers have really positive things to say about it. Having finished it, however, I find myself unpersuaded.

The biggest problem I had is with Willow herself. I di
4.5 stars Best of the Year So Far - Review to Come

This book is far from perfect, but the strongest book I've read so far this year. Willow is a 12-year-old prodigy who's been adopted by parents with very little other family. Right at the start, her parents die in a car accident.

Let me get this out of the way first: I loathe dead parent/grandparent books. It's just such an exhausted literary trope for me that it grates against my consciousness in all imaginable ways. So let me get my beef
Jan 03, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it it was ok
The entire time I read this, there was an arhythmic thumping in the back of my head. It was (I think) an un-cadent tattoo to remind me it seems like I've read variations on this book's theme a dozen or more times. (It doesn't help that the book I've just started reading after this one (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt) has nearly the same exact plot points as this one, just written for a significantly more mature audience),

An overfamiliar theme (a child's grief after losing his or her parents) is n
A decent book about moving on from a life-altering tragedy. But the plot's a bit generic and the author's attempts to make Willow look smart are forced sometimes. 4/5 stars.
Apr 01, 2017 Lucrezia rated it it was amazing
Wow! Questo libro mi ha completamente travolta e affascinata. L'ho adorato, soprattutto per la protagonista.
Willow Chance è una ragazzina di colore, di 12 anni ed è praticamente un genio. Si interessa a tutto, soprattutto alla medicina e alle piante. Ha problemi a relazionarsi con i suoi coetanei, ha un modo tutto suo di guardare il mondo ed è stata adottata da una famiglia che ama e dalla quale è amata. Ma all'improvviso i suoi genitori muoiono in un incidente. E così Willow si ritrova sola per
Jan 19, 2014 Philip rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Philip by: Jacki Fulwood
Shelves: young-adult
SNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO! I woke up and started reading this as I ate my breakfast. I had coffee and coffee cake... again. Then I played with the kids some. Then I told them, back off... I was reading. Then we built a snow fort. Then I read. Dinner. Read. Put the kids to bed. Read. My wife said, "Philip... there's no way we're having another snow day tomorrow. You should really turn off the light."

I had 20 pages left. 20 pages... It feels SOOOOooooo good to be so into a book that the only thing you w
Bee (Heart Full of Books)
I'm not crying YOU'RE crying. Oh goodness. This book was so ridiculously amazing. The cover doesn't really do it justice in my opinion but it's such a beautiful story about how a girl changes five people's lives and I LOVED it. It also had some pretty strong Matilda vibes (she even loves the library!) so if you're looking for the next Matilda, read Counting by 7s!
Nov 30, 2014 Elsie rated it really liked it
This book was very slow at the start and nothing was really happening, but as I continued to read more deeper into the book I loved it. Willow chance (the main character) was weird, quirky and funny. 8-15 year olds will definitely enjoy reading this book. Now a quote from counting by 7s 'if your lost you may have to swim against the tide'
Claudia Badiu
Apr 10, 2017 Claudia Badiu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
M-a fermecat povestea asta. Nici n-am simțit cum am ajuns să simt așa de profund stările personajelor, emoțiile lor și îngrijorarea lor.
Se întâmplă că 7 e și numărul meu, așa am ajuns în universul lui Willow. Scrisă simplu, extrem de simplu, ca și cum toată încărcătura stilistică a fost dată la o parte și a fost lăsat esențialul, adevărul, importantul.
Willow m-a învățat despre plante, Univers, oameni, iubire, legături, rădăcini, familie. Willow m-a învățat că lumea nu se termină atunci când ți
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Apr 26, 2013 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, diversity-yay
Gah, the adorableness of this book. Middle grades can be so good, because they give that focus on family so often wanting from YA, and I just love the family of colorful characters brought together here. Counting by 7s is an enchanting middle grade novel with a lot of heart.

One of my favorite stories to see in fiction, aside from a slow burn hate to love relationship is that of a family forming out of people who aren't necessarily related. Sure, a lot of people love their birth families, but ju
Sep 15, 2013 Londa rated it really liked it

I have this slightly odd habit. I only do it when I encounter a truly fantastic book, and well it happened last night.

See... I usually start reading a book while standing at the bar in my kitchen. Everything lands there when we get home...library books, school work, junk and not-so-junk mail. Most of the time, when I get a new book, being the nerd I am, I can't help but read the first few pages. From there I USUALLY put the book on the shelf, or in my bag, or somewhere else.
Jun 06, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it
A wonderful book about a young girl who sees the world differently and likes the number 7. Her life is dramatically altered forever and this story follows her journey and the people who she meets and touches along the way.
A story of being different, life, tragedy, love, friendship and family. How one person can change the lives of those around her and how family isn't always the one we're born into.
A great read and a story that pulls at the heart strings.
Jan 27, 2014 Lexi rated it liked it
Shelves: free-standing
This was a lovely story, but I feel that it dragged on. And sometimes the whole Willow-POV-and-then-the-author-would-talk-about-pretty-much-every-character-in-3rd-person a bit distracting and confusing.
Maddie (Heart Full Of Books)
I really, really loved this book. Thanks to Bee for pushing it into my hands. This was such a sweet story about support coming from the most unlikely places, and definitely one I want to add to my personal collection soon!
Mar 18, 2017 Brody rated it it was amazing
This is so good! I almost cried. There are so many things that stand out in this book that make you want to cry or laugh. Or both.
Oct 18, 2015 Vir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un 3,5 en realidad

Contar de 7 en 7 nos trae la historia de Willow una niña que tiene una forma muy especial de ver la vida, su obsesión con ciertas cosas -como lo mucho que le encanta leer sobre enfermedades y diagnosticárselas a la gente-, me sacaron más de una carcajada en más de una ocasión, y lo triste, pero a la vez bonito, de su historia me emocionaron en alguna otra. La novela está narrada en primera persona, sobre todo por Willow -aunque de vez en cuando se colará como narrador alguno de
Feb 18, 2015 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5/5 stars

THIS book was better than I thought it would be but I still found a few things wrong with it. The story follows Willow, a twelve year old genius reeling from the tragic loss of her parents. I really enjoyed the parts of the story which surrounded her grief and the reaction of someone so young to a loss so huge. I think those parts were really well done. I also really enjoyed the variety of characters and felt that they were realistic and did not feel fake.

A lot of the time I dislike
Dimity Powell
Nov 24, 2014 Dimity Powell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-lit
I can not fault this sophisticated tween / teen read. Artful, moving, witty and intensely humble. Sure I cried in parts, but do not expect to be swept away by sentimentality. Willow, the higher thinking, twice orphaned 'problem' everyone grows to cherish doesn't allow it. Instead she becomes the unexpected catalyst that sparks relationships and lives back into life. An astoundingly clarifying look at the complicated world of human relationships and emotions. Uplifting indeed.
Jenna Allway
Oct 12, 2016 Jenna Allway rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was outstanding! The way the author wrote the book with so much detail but still added some witty moments, makes the reader want to keep reading the book. The author also wrote the prologue with such great detail and writing a cliff hanger in it, automatically makes kids from all age groups want to read it. I would reread this book again.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Who's your favorite character on Counting by 7s, and why? 2 5 Feb 15, 2017 01:31PM  
Around the Year i...: Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan 2 9 Feb 01, 2017 07:12PM  
Counting by 7's 8 32 Jan 04, 2017 06:55PM  
  • Hold Fast
  • Zebra Forest
  •  Beholding Bee
  • The Center of Everything
  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
  • The Thing About Luck
  • Absolutely Almost
  • P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
  • This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
  • A Dog Called Homeless
  • Twerp
  • Paperboy
  • The Meaning of Maggie
  • Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina
  • Under the Egg
  • Death by Toilet Paper
  • Every Day After
  • Serafina's Promise
Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood living in California, the Netherlands, Istanbul, Washington, DC, and Oregon (where she graduated from high school). She wrote the screenplay for Angels in the Outfield and directed The Big Green, as well as a number of other successful family feature films.

The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband (the writer
More about Holly Goldberg Sloan...

Share This Book

“The ability to keep your mouth shut is usually a sign of intelligence” 64 likes
“For someone grieving, moving forward is the challenge. Because after extreme loss, you want to go back.” 60 likes
More quotes…