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Count Me In

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  938 ratings  ·  198 reviews
An uplifting story, told through the alternating voices of two middle-schoolers, in which a community rallies to reject racism.

Karina Chopra would have never imagined becoming friends with the boy next door–after all, they’ve avoided each other for years and she assumes Chris is just like the boys he hangs out with, who she labels a pack of hyenas. Then Karina’s grandfathe
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Published August 27th 2019 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  938 ratings  ·  198 reviews


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Colby Sharp
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-nerdy, mg-novel, 2019
I liked Count Me In so much that I am going to make it my last read aloud of the 2018-2019 school year. I cannot wait for my students to meet Karina and Chris. These characters and their story will hold a special place in the hearts of children. This is a special book.
Padma Venkatraman
A book about hate crimes that's easy to love. So happy to welcome this book into the world. Bajaj mixes moments of humor in with an examination of a tough and timely topic in a story that is sure to be a splendid success. ...more
Tory
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs, 2019, middle-years
So many other, better-written books are covering this topic. "The Best At It" by Maulik Pancholy is fantastic for one. I'm really sorry that this is so bad because racism, hate crimes, and Islamophobia are all incredibly urgent issues -- but I can't recommend this book despite its subject matter.

Stilted, forced, flat, predictable. An utter lack of contractions makes everyone sound like a robot, and the dialogue is so patently fake. Parents calling a racist assailant a "hater" in all seriousness
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Rachel
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the message of this story and the strong voice Karina develops from her experiences. I wish the writing were more compelling, but I think 7th graders will enjoy this story!
Jessica
Jan 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
One of the worst written books I’ve ever seen actually published. I started it as a read aloud because of the thematic content without having read the whole thing (which I will never, EVER do again). To say this already short at 170 page “novel” is packed with filler is such an understatement. But it’s infuriating that what isn’t useless filler is equally empty: even the attempts to establish stakes or explore themes or structure a narrative with any pacing or momentum failed it’s absurd.

The pe
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Tova
This made me feel things. Full review available here! ...more
Beth
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Guys - this book. It is SO GOOD. There is humor and empathy and friendship and family - and it shows how social media, so often demonized, is nothing but a tool. It can be used for good or ill, and can be used to show others a viewpoint or a sight or an understanding they may not have had before.

The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of two kids - Karina and Chris. Sometimes that is a struggle to keep involved with, but I felt it was done really well here. And it was good to see how th
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Beth Honeycutt
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like the premise of the book which is why I gave it 4 stars. It was a quick read with an excellent message. I didn’t love the writing itself.
Almira
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good book for folks of all ages to come to terms with racism, and what it can do to harm a community. However, Good can come from an awful event, turning people into friends.

Through Karina's grandfather, she becomes friends with Chris, who is being tutored by Karina's grandfather. She never thought she could be friends with him, after all he is the "white" boy who lives next door, whose family cannot tolerate Karina's Indian (East) American family. However, when Karina's grandfather is assaulted
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Richelle Robinson
*Amazon Vine Review*


Karina and Chris are neighbors who go to the same school. Karina is Indian American and Chris is Caucasian. Karina’s grandfather moves in and starts to tutor Chris in math. One day after the session Karina’s grandfather is attacked in a violent manner. Even though this is a tough subject matter I feel that this is a very important read. I did struggle with how well both Karina and Chris both bounced back from the ordeal. I would think at any age witnessing an assault would b
...more
Becky
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefanie
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listened to the audio! Very important story and will inspire meaningful discussions in the classrooms.
Shauna Yusko
Pair with Wishtree for older elementary or Amina’s Voice for middle school.
Jessika
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Grade Level: 5th - 6th

The realistic fiction book "Count Me In" by Varsha Bajaj is quite an emotional rollercoaster. The book is the story of Karina Chopra, Chris Daniels, and Karina's grandfather (Papa) who fall victim to an assault by a racist, close-minded man. The man beats up Papa who then has to be admitted into the hospital and because of his age, is struggling to get better. The story switches off from the perspective of Karina to the perspective of Chris, both telling usually the same sc
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Gemma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Gardner
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
ok? Karina and Chris live next door, but they don’t spend much time together. Karina, an Indian American girl who loves photography, is sometimes picked on for having hairy arms and looking different. Chris has never been mean to Karina, but he also hasn’t stood up for her. When Karina’s grandfather Papa comes to live with the family he becomes a math tutor in the kids’ school and starts tutoring Chris, which brings the teens closer together. But just as Chris and Karina are getting to know each ...more
Shaye Miller
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw this cover for the first time, I thought this was a children's picture book. But no, it's definitely a middle grade novel. Karina Chopra, and her next-door-neighbor, Chris Daniels, have never been all that close despite haven't grown up in the same class. In fact, Chris has witnessed Karina being bullied and yet he never had the courage to speak out. But all that changes one day when together they face racist brutality and slowly watch the aftermath unfold as bystanders interpret the ...more
Kathie
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books for an eARC of this book.

Told in alternating viewpoints, Karina and Chris are next door neighbors who become friends after Karina's grandfather (Papa) moves in with her family and starts to tutor Chris in math. One day, Papa is assaulted by a stranger because he's not white (he's Indian) while he's out with Karina and Chris. While he's confined to a hospital bed, Karina starts a movement called #CountMeIn to show that being American include
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Laura Beam
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you stumble upon stories, so important and so needed, that it almost feels as if the clouds have parted and the sun is coming through. That is how I felt when I opened up the pages of (my advanced reader copy of) Varsha Bajaj's Count Me In. The story of Karina Chopra and Chris Daniels is one of pain and hope. It tells the story, through alternating perspectives, of a friendship between a second generation Indian American girl, her white next door neighbor, and her grandfather before du ...more
Lynn Plourde
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A timely, important, powerful book about how we all belong in the United States . . . except some think we don't, some commit hate crimes. COUNT ME IN would be a great class novel (read-aloud) that would lead to important conversations as to whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution on discrimination and immigrant issues. My only concern was that I wish Karina's and Chris' voices in alternating chapters had been more distinct. I would catch myself reading at times and hav ...more
Laura
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The message behind the story of this book is really important and one which should be discussed more with children. But, I just thought the writing was poor. At some points reading it I felt a little like when an adult is trying to be "down with the kids", the language used just didnt mesh with how the younger people I've been around speak. A good book to read with children to discuss racism/hare crimes but I think there are probably better out there. ...more
Maddie Rojas Lynch
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet and uplifting story about middle schoolers and their community speaking out against racism. I hope every kid (and adult) who reads this book feels inspired to do the same. Definitely hope to use this book in my classroom at some point in the future.
Sarah
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Order this now. Typical of a Nancy Paulsen book, it was a meaningful story that I devoured. Karina's family experiences a racist assault, and she uses social media to make a difference. This will be a perfect choice for reading aloud and for student-led book clubs because of the important discussion it will elicit ...more
Holly
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a very breezy little story with a good message. I liked it, although I understand what some other reviewers say about it not being too deep. I think the story could resonate with 4-5th grade students.
mytaakeonit
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This would be a great book to pair with Wishtree! The audiobook was very well done.
Miriam
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing!
Safiya
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Great book, but written like a fanfiction.
Farah
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Important storyline and very good messages but it became a bit too much in the end.
Erin Varley
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five well-deserved stars. Should be required reading for everyone.
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Varsha Bajaj grew up in Mumbai, India. When she came to the United States to obtain her master’s degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books. In addition to her previous picture books, she wrote the middle-grade novel Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood, which was shortlisted for the Cybils Award and included on the Spirit of Texas Reading Program. She ...more

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