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

Counting Wolves

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  78 reviews
The Breakfast Club meets Grimm's Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.

Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish
ebook, 220 pages
Published August 14th 2017 by The Publishing House
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 Wolves, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Michael Stewart Thanks for asking, Emer! No, this is not a romance novel. :)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  78 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Counting Wolves
Dannii Elle
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The synopsis begun with "The Breakfast Club meets Grimm's Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward", and I needed to know nothing more to be intrigued!

This was a superbly clever novel that used recognisable fairy tale imagery to depict the harsh reality of mental illness. Protagonist, Milly, is both heroine and sufferer. She guides the reader through her world of fear and mistrust and, through her eyes, we begin to see and to feel that whilst all that haunts her might be in her head i
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Wow, this book turned out to be nothing like what I imagined from the title or blurb... I was expecting something paranormal or fairy tale related, but I totally loved what it was. Michael F Stewart has crafted a world that feels so real in Milly's mind. Without spoiling things, he does a fantastic job of immersing you in what it feels like to live her experience, so that for the first part of the book, you aren't entirely sure what is real and what is not real, just like Milly. Just fabulously ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of: teen mental stories, and fairy tales
Recommended to Courtney by: Netgalley
Romila "Milly" Malone is committed to a pediatric psych ward by her evil stepmother, Adriana. With ward mates like Red - whose only getting worse, Pig - whose love for fire is bigger than life, Vanet - a manic teen who grants wishes most likely to harm rather than do good, Peter - a boy who wishes he could fly, Sleeping Beauty - who's usually in a comatose state, Wesley - who believes he's dead and rotten inside and Wolfgang - rumored to be a blood thirsty escapist constantly searching for his n ...more
Tina H
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
*I received this book for free, in exchange for an honest review.*

"The Breakfast Club meets Grimm's Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward"
Just reading that drew me in and I had to read it!

I don't want to say too much about the story because I feel like you need you need to go into this story with an open mind and let it develop and unfold as you read

But what I will say this....
I was expecting it to be more of a paranormal read but it went in a different direction. However, i
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This was a really unique and nice take on mental health. The stories of these characters are told and explained through the use of fairy tales, which was a really nice touch, and I think it may help with making it feel more real to readers with no mental illness experiences. As Albus Dumbledore said, "Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean it's not real?" I feel like that quote really connects to Counting Wolves.

While the blurb makes this boo
Amy Leigh
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This book was so hard to put down! I read it in two sittings only because I HAD to sleep. This story is so magical and so is this author's writing style. The story just flows so beautifully.

Yes, fairy tales are a huge part of Molly's story and so is her mental illness. I don't want to spoil anything for you in this book but it is intriguing, eye opening and life changing. It will stick with you. I highly recommend this novel, you won't be disappointed! I absolutely loved this book!

Copy given by
Melissa Souza
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
**Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

5 glorious stars!!!

Okay, deep breaths before I start actually writing a review for this book. I just have to say, I so did not expect this book to turn out the way it did. I was expecting a retelling of the fairytales with a twist. But, it took me completely by surprise and in an amazing way. So, as you can see there are all smiles here. :D

Firstly, I absolutely loved the concept of the no
Manon the Malicious
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, physical
*4.25 Stars*

I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Counting Wolves tells the story of Milly, who is committed to an adolescent psych ward after she passes out from a panic attack.

The characters were really interesting and touching. The story was captivating, I couldn’t put it down. I really empathized with Millie and she even made me doubt what was real or not.
I’m not sure how accurate the portrayal of OCD was but the anxiety portrayal seemed relevant to me, it real
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Committed to an adolescent psych ward due to her OCD, Milly blames it all on her stepmother who is in league with the wolf stalking her night and day. Kept from the safety of her room, Milly is forced to interact with Red, Pig, Vanet, Peter and the mysterious Wolfgang, each with their own connections to the Dark Wood. As she learns to use other tools to replace her counting Milly uncovers the truths of the fairy tales that her mother left behind
Ash †Reviews of a FearStreetZombie†
Why is it always the damn stepmother? The evil stepmother who betrays me and Snow White and poor Gretel- and who won't let me leave the ER. And all these doors.

This book was NOTHING like I expected and it will stay with me for as long as I live.

Ugh there is so much I want to say about this book but I don't want to give anything away! I don't want to take the magic away from any reader who will pick this book up. Because that is was this book was to me. Magic.

I can promise you that when you
Melanie (mells_view)
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Counting Wolves is the story of Milly Malone. A girl who is being stalked by the Wolf. A wolf who will claw at her and drag her to the Dark Wood if she doesn't use her magic to stop it. Milly's evil step mother checks her into a hospitals psych ward, exactly where the Wolf wants her. A ward run by witches and toads, where she meets other teens who are fairytale characters come to life. Will Milly get out of the psych ward before the Wolf gets her? Read Counting Wolves and see.

I really enjoyed th
Greyson | Use Your Words
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

There once was a girl who was the wolf’s coveted meal.

In Counting Wolves the reader follows Milly as she battles the wolf, keen on ripping her to shreds. The only way to protect herself is to cast a spell, like her mother taught her, by counting to 100 before she speaks, before she walks through doors, before she eats and to chew. She's been handling this all pretty well. Yeah she's lost some fri
Lisa Mandina
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me a lot of the book Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. Throughout the beginning of the book, I wondered, is this really a magical story, or is it just a girl who is dealing with psychological issues that cause her OCD and nightmares. I really liked how the author took the different illnesses and conditions of the patients in the psych ward and made them into aspects of a fairy tale. This is part of what kept me guessing the entire time on which way the story was actually going to ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2017
Number of pages: 216

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 3

Release Date: August 14th 2017

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I’m going to do an updated review for Counting Wolves once I get my hands on a finished copy and find the time to read it, because I think this one deserves a second chance. I think the reason this is only getting 3 stars is mainly bec
A big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this awesome book!!!!!!!!

I am so glad I purchased this book for my library. It is so different from any other teen book dealing with mental illness, that I have ever read. It's heartbreaking, clever, and funny all at the same time. There are times when you will think that maybe you shouldn't be laughing, but you won't be able to help yourself. I love how the author intertwines fairy tales with the main character's mental illness and ties it all
Michelle VanDaley
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book slow to start but I am glad I stuck with it. Milly's journey is an intersting one and I enjoyed the fairy tale refrences. This was my first from this author and I look forward to more
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I don't know where to begin. This book is about mental illness. It's fictional with a twist. Mental Illness is not a nasty word. In my family, I have seen a unit like where this one takes place in. So this isn't a world unfamiliar to me. There are a few things that couldn't have happened in real life (at least not at the facility I know.) But anyway this story ends so powerfully I was in tears. And I almost gave up reading it because it was a little to close to my own heart for me!

I like how th
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, kindle, hidden-gems
I want to thank the author and Hidden Gems for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book. I gotta say, the summary had me interested but I wasn't entirely sure about it. I went through this book in a mere day and a half! Can we say that I enjoyed it? Of course! It's not a fairy tale retelling, but it centers around a good bit of them, but it's not a retelling.

Romila "Milly" has to count to one hundred before she does the majority of things in her life. Entering through doors, taki
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received an ebook copy of this title via NetGalley*

Romila (though she prefers Milly) is a counter. She always has to count to 100 (never more, never less) to walk through doorways, to take bites of her food, before she talks... all to keep the wolf away. The stress of counting at school catches up with her, causing her to faint and get sent to the hospital. The doctors and Adriana (Milly's stepmother) decide it is best for her to stay at a psych ward when all Milly wants to do is go home and
S.L. Dearing
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Let me begin by saying, I have NEVER read a first person present POV I have liked, let alone loved, until now. Counting Wolves by Michael F. Stewart is an amazing book.

The main character is Millie, and Stewart has given her voice the resonates with the world of the mentally ill. She is likable, smart, and seriously mentally ill. I loved the way that Stewart weaves the images in Millie's mind. You can feel how intense everything is and how she really doesn't understand. The characters at school,
Mrs. Europaea
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I was disappointed. I'd read so many great reviews and it just didn't come together the same way for me.

I LOVED the concept. I liked Milly, Vanet was interesting but I felt like he could have been developed more. I love the twist at the end but there was a lot of foreshadowing that dulled the impact of the final reveal. I also think Milly came around to self-realization far to quickly. Especially in highly stressed and violent situations, it didn't seem plausible for someone who hopped through
Theresa Grissom
Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC copy of this book!

Wow! This is the second book I have read by Michael F. Stewart and I'm quickly becoming a fan. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started but it's been a while since I've finished a book so quickly. I literally could not put this down. I laughed, then felt bad for laughing, then figured it was ok... We are all crazy in our own way! I loved the characters! They each have their own set of issues to deal with and that is what made me love them. So w
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Romila "Milly" Malone is an awkward teenager with an obsession with counting to one hundred for everyday tasks like going through doors or eating or speaking. When she faints in gym class she's taken to the ER for evaluation. Milly ends up in the psych ward to get her weight up and cease her counting ways. Can Milly stop her counting ways? What will she learn in the psych ward? Your answers await you in Counting Wolves.

I love this book for how it challenged mental health as a whole! The characte
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
i really liked this book! it was hard to put down and an easy read. what i didn’t really like (and the reason for 4 and not 5 stars) was how quickly everything was wrapped up in the end. either way, great book with great representation of anxiety, delusions, and many other parts of mental illness.
Hannah L (Reviewer)
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-contemporary
Depressing but thought provoking, Counting Wolves keeps the reader unsure of reality as the main character struggles to hold back the evil realm of the Dark Wood that wants to destroy everything. Now locked up in the mental ward, the evil Wolf increases its stalking and gets closer then ever to destroying Milly. With her in the ward are many other fairytale themed psychos: Tink, Red, Pig, Wolf and Vanet. As the struggle continues, Milly struggles to figure out what is real, and what is all in h
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I sat down to read Counting Wolves I was more than a little surprised. I was expecting to read a fantasy but what I received was so much more. By the time I had finished this story I was deeply moved by Milly’s journey. If you are looking to read a fantasy understand that this story takes characteristics of well-known fairytales and applies those characteristics to the characters of this story but it is not a re-telling or a fantasy story.

What Counting Wolves really is about is Milly and ho
J.B. Rockwell
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Breakfast Club with a dash of Grimm's fairy tales. Counting Wolves is a poignant story of a young girl struggling for control in an oft overwhelming world. Bereft after the loss of her mother, Milly clings to the her one last connection to her: a book of fairy tales that might be magic--a spellbook, the solution to every problem hidden in its pages--or might just be a crutch. A way to deny the reality of the world her. One where there is no mother, just a stepmother Milly mostly hates and, so Mi ...more
Chelsea Fryou
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Original review can be found at Freeing Fantasy. You can also follow me on TwitterFacebook, and Bloglovin

ARC of Counting Wolves provided through Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review.

Counting Wolves was such an amazing surprise! When I first started reading this book I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but I did not expect the awesomeness that unfolded page after page!

In the synopsis, it does not say why Milly is in the psych ward so unfortunately, I can't dive into that part of her cha

Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a really different but unique fairy tale retelling. I guess I should say fairy tales, actually, since there are so many different ones mixed in there. There's Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, the Three Little Pigs, and Cinderella, to name a few. The characters taken from these stories are really easy to identify, but that doesn't make th
Elena Love
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*I received this book for free, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

I knew this book was going to be extraordinary, before I even started reading! Its unique storyline is enough to draw you in and make you want to keep reading. It's also quite unpredictable and you might end up getting lost in its complicated nature. The characters themselves are some of the weirdest - in a good way - and most fascinating people I've read about recently and I immensely enjoyed
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ultimate Sacrifice
  • Relentless (Relentless, #1)
  • Dragon and Mr. Sneeze : Charli's Story
  • Stolen Legacy
  • Lady Bits
  • Grim Nora and the Secret of the Skull
  • Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault (Glass Vault, #1)
  • Monster
  • The Ghost Sensitive
  • Outcast (Living Out Loud #1)
  • Wolves and Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1)
  • Bonus Track (Living Out Loud #5 - Short Read)
  • Two Moon Princess (Two Moon Princess, #1)
  • Survive the Chaos (Small Town EMP #1)
  • Pusher (Living Out Loud #3)
  • Warped Ambition (Jo Riskin Mysteries #1)
  • The Monster's Lover (Fenris, #1)
  • The Last Seer King (The Shadow Sword series Book 2)
See similar books…
Michael F. Stewart is an award-winning author of many books for young people in various genres, including Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life and Heart Sister (Fall 2020, Orca Books). Michael lives in Ottawa.

To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
25 likes · 3 comments
“I hear a siren and, if we weren’t already in a hospital, I would have assumed they were coming for nearly everyone in this room.” 2 likes
“The Goth boy stares at me, and I give him a what-are-you-looking-at stare right back.

“I’m dead,” he says in a dull monotone.

“Pardon me?” Adriana asks, but he keeps staring at me.

“You’re dead, too. Look at your veins. They’re blue.” He points at my forearms where dark veins run their lengths. “You’re rotting like me.”

I glance to Adriana, hands clasped and praying that she won’t leave me here.

Adriana’s stopped crying now and squints at the boy before standing to pull closed the curtain that rings my cot. “Crazy,” she says with an uncertain smile. “You’re not rotting.”

. . . ninety-nine, one hundred . “No,” I reply. “But I will if you leave me here.”
More quotes…