“When we meet Willow, the 12-year-old main character and our narrator for much of this lovely middle-grade novel, we know she has experienced a horrible loss. But as her life unfolds, the reader feels Willow’s strength and resilience. Despite and because of her sometimes-alienating intellect and her tragic situation, others become involved in Willow’s life. People who were strangers form a network of people who intrigue her, people who care about her, and people who care for her.
“Books described as ‘uplifting’ and ‘redemptive’ usually make me roll my eyes. But somehow this worked just perfectly for me. I think it was the flawed characters who served as foils: alongside the good-hearted, wise characters (Mai and her mother), there are examples of extraordinary fecklessness (Willow’s counselor, Dell and Mai’s under-achieving brother Quang-ha), so somehow everyone felt real enough to make me feel truly invested in their lives every step of the way.
“This would make a perfect book club book for readers grades 5 and up, but it shouldn’t be relegated to the ‘issue book’ shelf. Counting by 7s is a novel that readers who enjoy clever writing, emotional suspense, and stunning character development will love. ”
—Tegan, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle