Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fantastic middle grade with a genius middle schooler whose world is turned upside down when her parents are killed in a car accident. This is one of those stories where an unlikely cast of characters come together to make things right, characters get enlightened along the way, bonds form and the ending is hopeful. Lots of books try to do this; Counting by 7s nails it. It’s being compared to Sharon Draper’s “Out of My Mind.” It made me also think of Susan Patron’s “Higher Power of Lucky” and Joan Bauer’s “Almost Home,” mixed with Lisa Yee’s “Millicent Min.” Humor, heart, and you learn a ton through 12-year-old Willow Chance’s observations. Another bonus, that I wish we didn’t have to still call out: Diverse group of characters in terms of ethnicities (Vietnamese, Spanish, unnamed) and personalities — just the way life and friendship is in most of our communities. Love this one!