Counting by 7s for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Before diving into this first review for 2015, here are the results of the drawing  for two fantastic book packages:

The four book package goes to….Rosi Hollinbeck at The Write Stuff

The three book package goes to…Andrea Mack at That’s Another Story

Congratulations and I will be emailing you for addresses.


To start the new year I’ve been cleaning up my list of books to be read (TBR). One title that had been on there for over a year can finally be scratched from the list as today is all about this popular title from late 2013 – COUNTING BY 7s.7s

It reminded me of watching a blockbuster movie after everyone else had seen it months earlier. After listening and reading all the chatter, you know the best parts and the plot, but now its time to formulate your own opinion. So… it was good. I was hoping for great but maybe the timing wasn’t right or was it the POV? I’d spent seven of my own teaching years in a full time program for highly gifted kids and wished the entire book had been told from Willow Chance’s gifted mind. Instead it bounced from Willow’s first person narration to numerous third person views of the other characters.

Despite my personal preferences there was still much to love about this unusual story.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon):  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.


  1. A garden provides the parallel for growth from the characters and the plants themselves. It’s a perfect pairing.
  2. Willow is brilliant, funny, and perceptive but so are the cast of characters around her.
  3. Willow’s plunge into the foster care system is a realistic look at how it works in our own backyards for so many kids.
  4. Dell, the counselor. He’s awful at his job, but slowly he begins to see that he can be better. I’ve known quite a few Dell’s and they need to read this book.
  5. Lesson learned: Labels can do more harm than good sometimes.

FAVORITE LINES: On the 7th day of the 7th month (Is it any wonder I love that number) my new parents drove north to a hospital 257 miles from their home, where they named me after a cold-climate tree and changed the world. Or at least our world.

QUOTE FROM AUTHOR: “…So I think I was drawn to write about Willow in a personal way from my own family.”


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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13 Responses to Counting by 7s for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Andrea says:

    Wow! I’m so so surprised!! Thank you so much! I really enjoy reading your book reviews. You always seem to find interesting books that I haven’t heard of before.

    I remember reading Counting by 7s, and I remember thinking it was good but not stunningly so, despite what I’d been hearing about it.

  2. cleemckenzie says:

    I might find this one interesting just based on the garden parallels you mentioned. Thanks for featuring it here as your kick off review for 2015.

  3. I too have found I like but don’t love all the books others rave about. Sometimes it’s the book and sometimes it’s just my mood. From Andrea’s comment, sounds like you’re not alone in not loving this one.

  4. jennienzor says:

    This does sound intriguing, especially seeing how a gifted child deals with the foster care system. However, I’m not a fan of alternating POVs, especially 1st/3rd. I don’t know if my expectations are too high or that I don’t tend to like the books everyone else does, but I also find I don’t always love the books everyone else is talking about.

  5. Joanne Fritz says:

    Well, you may remember me raving about this book, but I admit the changing POV isn’t for everyone. Willow was a great character, though.

    There’s a certain YA novel that everyone else seemed to love in 2014 and which I couldn’t stand. So I hear you. Opinions vary and it would be a dull world if they didn’t.

  6. Glad you reviewed “Counting by 7s.” My kind of story. Is Willow a tad bit OCD or on the autism spectrum. Things you said, made me wonder. This sounds like a sobering yet uplifting story about finding your way. Great review!

  7. warrchick says:

    I’ve seen this title around but hadn’t remembered much about it, if I heard more. Now I’m intrigued, and putting it on my list. Thanks for the recommend, and it’s great to see you pushing forward with MMGM. I’ll try to join you next week. 😉

  8. You know, I’ve seen this title around but hadn’t clicked on anything to read an actual description so I didn’t realize what it was about. Thanks for the review!

  9. stephie5741 says:

    I like that you do “five things I like.” People love lists! This sounds like an inspiring read. I’m going to have to check it out. I look forward to getting more great book suggestions from you!

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