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Counting by 7s

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  52,579 ratings  ·  7,246 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
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Kindle Edition, 380 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Dial
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Popular Answered Questions
Maya 100000000, this book killed me and that takes a lot. WOW. I started crying so much.
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

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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  52,579 ratings  ·  7,246 reviews


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TheBookSmugglers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lola
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
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
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Donalyn
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 li
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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
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Patricia
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
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Elyse Walters
"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)

Wil
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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
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Shelley
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mocknewbery, ijones, youth
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
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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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Samuel
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Mariah Roze
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
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
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Whitney Atkinson
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
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Kristine
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.

-RANT-
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
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Snotchocheez
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
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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
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Anisha A
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book last year but it was a really good book.
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!
Toph
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.
Philip
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sarah Dorothea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Londa
STANDING OVATION!!

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.
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Caroline
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
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Kerry
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Elsie
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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'
JonathanT
If there’s anything I’ve figured out in the last months it’s that you can find labels to organize living things, but you can’t put people in any kind of group or order. It just doesn’t work that way.

I liked the idea behind this one. Reading a book with a GENIUS as the main character sounded like it would be fun! and interesting! and unique!

But I think the book got SO caught up in being Politically Correct that it ended up having a very stifled/artificial feel to it. Add to that a believability
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
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
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Nicay Magnate
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, kindle
I decide that when my head begins to pound from now on, I will shut my eyes and count to 7, instead of by 7’s.


I became in a reading slump for weeks, and to get rid of the slump I decided to pick a book that interests me. And then suddenly, I found this gem because aside from the fact that my book friends I know loved it, the first few paragraphs really mesmerized me that I can’t put the story down.

To read the full review, click HERE.
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Willow 25 37 Sep 12, 2018 05:16AM  
Who's your favorite character on Counting by 7s, and why? 5 27 Sep 12, 2018 05:14AM  
Scorpio Reads: SEPTEMBER book: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan 1 1 Aug 30, 2018 04:53AM  
the book 2 5 Nov 22, 2017 09:43AM  

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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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“The ability to keep your mouth shut is usually a sign of intelligence” 86 likes
“For someone grieving, moving forward is the challenge. Because after extreme loss, you want to go back.” 73 likes
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