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Counting by 7s

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  71,414 ratings  ·  8,915 reviews
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 c
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Dial Books
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Maya 100000000, this book killed me and that takes a lot. WOW. I started crying so much.
Lorraine This book ends in the best possible way a book about the death of a child's parents could end. I loved it.…moreThis book ends in the best possible way a book about the death of a child's parents could end. I loved it.(less)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  71,414 ratings  ·  8,915 reviews

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jv poore
This is one of those treasures recommended for ages 10 and up that I believe everyone can thoroughly enjoy, not just older elementary and middle-grade people.

I can't imagine the person who would not be charmed, then completely smitten with young Willow, who at the tender age of 12 has her world shattered. An admirable and awe-inspiring person Before, her strength, courage and resolve After show the reader what a real-life super-heroine is all about.

Even cooler, we see her spirit, determination
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.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
“When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama.”

I didn’t give the cover much thought aside from thinking it’s cute but after reading the book, just looking at it forms a lump in my throat that if I didn’t control would certainly leak out of my eyes. *sniffs* Willow, an incredibly smart young girl represents the lone red fish in the cover swimming in a different direction as she loses her sense of balance, direction and meaning after the accident that took the l
Dec 02, 2013 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
Feb 24, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-75-stars
In a Nutshell: Well, I liked this more than I expected. Having zero expectations helped, I guess.

Twelve year old Willow Chance is a genius in many fields but finds it difficult to connect with people. When her adopted parents die in a car crash, she is left alone in a world where there’s no one to understand her. How Willow gets back on her feet again with the help of a motley assortment of people forms the crux of the story.
The book is written in the first person perspective of Willow an
Feb 21, 2022 rated it liked it
I have to admit that this book turned out to be quite different from what I thought it would be. I am used to slow stories provided they develop characters and get somewhere. This just did not work for me, and I suppose listening to an audiobook quite probably made it worse.

Willow Chance is a gifted 12-year old, who among other things, likes counting in 7s. She has a deep interest and knowledge in many things - especially soils, plants & medical conditions. She is an adopted child and tragedy st
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 rated it it was ok
Shelves: youth, mocknewbery, ijones
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
Elyse  Walters
Sep 16, 2014 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
Dec 20, 2013 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
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 - 4 stars

A great story about how connections are formed and how strangers become friends and family. I think I would have loved this more if I had been in a different mind frame because some the the heavier emotional parts of this book were too much for me. But I can see why it's loved.

(Sidenote, this is like the 3rd middle grade book I've read starring a young girl as an undiscovered genius and I am wondering why there are so many of these in this genre).

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Mariah Roze
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has been on my To-Read forever and I was so excited to finally get to it. However, this book was definitely a disappointment. There was nothing gripping about it that made me want to keep reading... There was nothing interesting about her advanced understanding and obsession with learning because when her parents died (that is not a spoiler... it happens right away) her obsession with learning and growing stopped. The author focused so much on other stuff that it took away from learnin ...more
The Reading Countess
Apr 27, 2013 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 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
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 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

I am sick of books that expect the protagonists ~speshulness~ to account for an interesting story. Willow Chance (what kind of pretentious name is that, by the way?) is an "oddity." The author goes out of her way to give her idiosyncracies that don't really make any sense and point out how unique she is.

And then her parents die. She says something along the lines
Lara (Bookish_turtle)
Okay, I've read this book so many times and love it so much that I figure I should write a review!

I really just love this book so much, so if you insult it, we can't be friends. Not really. If you don't like this book, then I won't judge you (or at least I'll pretend not to) ... But seriously. I am in love with this book.

It is a YA realistic fiction, bordering on middle grade, but to make myself feel better I'm calling it YA.

The main character is unique! This is such a generic statement made abo
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. ...more
Anisha A
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book last year but it was a really good book.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Andrea Olson
Dec 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
You can be smart and not be a jerk. The narrator, Willow Chance, talks more like C-3P0 than a human and manages to be even more annoying.
The creepy school counselor with no backbone just lets some Vietnamese family take over his apartment. Oh, and don't forget (SPOILERS)
Pattie is filthy rich, but instead, she has her children sleep in a garage and starve. Nothing irks me more than unneeded suffering, which is all Pattie inflicts with this stupid choice.
And then J-man (whatever the taxi dude's n
Jan 19, 2014 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
C. L.
Okay, let me see if I've got this right:

-being "gifted" means being flawless
-the sole Hispanic character is a taxi driver who thinks the main character is a shaman mystic angel
-the Vietnamese characters live in a garage behind their nail salon, despite being secretly rich
-public schools are evil
-foster care is evil
-libraries are mostly used by homeless people
-writing in short sentences that each start a new paragraph is super-deep

Hey, look! Seven!

Skip this.
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Willow Chance is a 12-year old girl, obsessed with plants and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds assimilating socially to be a major challenge. Her life is turned upside down when her parents are killed in a car accident, and she finds herself left in the company of two recent acquaintances: Mai and Quang-ha Nguyen, and their mother, Pattie, who owns a nail salon. Rounding out the cast of misfits is their clueless school guidance counsellor, Dell Duke and a taxi driver, Jairo Hernandez (my ...more
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
Sarah Dorothea
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Srivalli Rekha
Feb 21, 2022 rated it liked it
I wanted to like the book more than I did. It deals with important topics and has been written for kids. While I have no issues with exaggerating the prowess of a 12yo, I do have issues with how 'money' is dealt with in the book.

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Book Nerds Unite: June 2021 BOTM | Counting By 7s 2 17 May 27, 2021 04:43AM  
Want To ReRead!! 4 5 May 09, 2021 03:42PM  
I might put this book down 2 14 Dec 28, 2020 05:21PM  
Counting by 7s 1 11 May 20, 2020 03:14PM  
Counting By Sevens 1 6 Oct 28, 2019 01:20PM  

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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

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