CB7I finally finished reading the acclaimed novel for young readers, Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I say “finally” as I started reading the book back on my vacation in early September.

The book was chosen as part of our second annual vacation reading club – where we choose a young adult book and all read it. I tried to get into it while on vacation, but quickly found my reading comprehension at the beach was not very high.

I picked up the book again a couple of weeks ago and started from the beginning. Rereading the first several chapters it was evident I was not paying attention on my first try, as major plot points were new to me. But I am glad I started over as I enjoyed the book very much.

Counting by 7’s is a book that I would say was aimed at readers in middle school, mostly girls. As a man, not quite in eighth grade anymore (although some will say otherwise), I am clearly not the audience for this tale of a gifted young girl. That said, Counting by 7’s is a universal story of a young person navigating the transition into the realities of the world.

About Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan: “Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. 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 book 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 read.”

With Counting by 7’s, Holly Goldberg Sloan has crafted a wonderful story for young readers (and others) that deserves the acclaim it has received. As one who does not read much fiction aimed at the young reader, I was impressed by how smart and elegant the writing was. I don’t have to read other books in this genre to know how rare a treat this novel is.

Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.