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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller.

In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. Willow Chance is a 12-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by sevens. 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 car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this audiobook is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to listen to.

©2013 Holly Goldberg Sloan (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Willow's story is one of renewal, and her journey of rebuilding the ties that unite people as a family will stay in readers' hearts long after the last page.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“A graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded characters who learn sweet - but never cloying - lessons about resourcefulness, community, and true resilience in the face of loss.” (Booklist starred review)

“What sets this novel apart from the average orphan-finds-a-home book is its lack of sentimentality, its truly multicultural cast (Willow describes herself as a “person of color”; Mai and Quang-ha are of mixed Vietnamese, African American, and Mexican ancestry), and its tone.... Poignant.” (The Horn Book starred review)

“What sets this novel apart from the average orphan-finds-a-home book is its lack of sentimentality, its truly multicultural cast (Willow describes herself as a “person of color”; Mai and Quang-ha are of mixed Vietnamese, African American, and Mexican ancestry), and its tone...Poignant.” (The Horn Book starred review)

What listeners say about Counting by 7s

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Excellent piece

Really enjoyed this book, though it pulled at heartstrings. Characters are very well developed and varied. Really well organized storyline.

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Counting g by 7

It was a very interesting book and the auditable made it so much easier!!! I love the twists in the book.

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  • Kathy in CA
  • 2020-05-15

I Guess I Am Just Too Old To Enjoy This Book!

As an older adult who usually loves YA literature, I felt very surprised listening to this book, as I found myself enjoying it less and less as time went on. Some of my thoughts as to why I am quitting it after 4 hours are the following:

While I love Robin Miles as a narrator, this story and character, Willow, needed a younger voice. No way was I convinced this was a 12 year old speaking.

Willow's intelligence stretched my credibility levels. She sounded like she attended medical school. In addition, she was not very likeable to me.

This book evoked little emotion from me. I did not find it particularly sad or funny or happy or anything else for that matter.

I did not find the other characters interesting or at all believable. The counselor's behavior was far-fetched, and the friend's mom's behavior strained any credibility. I did not feel anyone was developed well enough to hook me in or make me care about them. Not one character was endearing to me.

I really don't care how the story ends.

I realize this book was not written for my age bracket, and I am a lone dissenter here. I just thought I'd lay out some thoughts for people like me who are older adults, love YA, and are wondering whether to get this audiobook. I guess the preponderance of one sentence rave reviews should have clued me in. My bad.

10 people found this helpful

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  • MEM
  • 2017-07-25

excellent

The narrator did an excellent job. I listen to a lot audio books and this was one of the best narrators.
It took me a little bit to get in this to the story but then I had a hard time putting it down.
Good life lessons

8 people found this helpful

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  • E. Turner
  • 2016-05-05

GREAT!!

Counting by 7s is one of the best books ever to be written. Most of the characters are dynamic. I just love this book.

9 people found this helpful

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  • J. David Carlson
  • 2015-05-09

Heart-warming and funny

A book for any age, this story has such quirky, lovable characters that you HAVE to root for them!! The narration on this story is fantastic. The story covers some heart-breaking themes and the narrator takes you right into the moment as she acts out the varied characters. And while your heart might break for the characters at times, this is a story log hope and light and belonging.
Truly a treat to experience: listen NOW!!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Slbahr
  • 2018-05-27

Counting by 7’s review.

Very great book, made me inspired to work on life and enjoy the little things. I recommend this book to people who might be having a hard time, just to let them know people just like you are out there in the world as well and you will get through it, just like Willow Chance did.

2 people found this helpful

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  • JillyMcK
  • 2015-04-22

Wonderful Story

This book made me laugh and cry and I enjoyed every moment of it. The narration was perfect and brought the story to life!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 2015-08-31

Endearing!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Loved the main character. You can tell it is YA but I am so glad I read it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • TFB
  • 2018-07-20

Nice Book

Amazing book with a lot of detail. Recommended for seventh grade and above. 5\5 stars

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  • DIY Girl
  • 2018-06-14

Utterly charming characters

This story was so easy to hear. Loved all the characters, narrator’s performance and theme.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anon E Mouse
  • 2015-05-17

Not as good as Flat Out Love, but...

...a really enjoyable YA novel. When I was young I used to count by 7's to fall asleep, so I was really interested in this book. Turns out that it is much better than either "Eleanor & Park" and "Reason to Breathe". In contrast to those books, both the story and characters in Counting by 7's are loveable. Well worth the investment.

1 person found this helpful