25 October 2014

Review: Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Closer to a 3.5.

I've written before about my enjoyment of the sweeter, more pointed-style middle grade/YA books - your Pie, Stargirl, and the like. Counting By 7s is another one of those, sort of a sadder version of One for the Murphys with an implied autistic main character and some really strange choices made with certain characters.

Essentially, Willow, our lead character, his a supergenius who is immediately misunderstood by her teacher. Her adoptive parents die in a car accident and she is forced to deal with her entire world being turned upside down in the process as she seeks out a surrogate family and copes with everything around her.

Whether she is supposed to be autistic is left unsaid, which might be part of my struggle with it. In a modern context, it would be exceptionally difficult for her to slip through like that. The guidance counselor comes across as creepy, which isn't really the intent as far as I can tell even if the point was for him to be just kind of bad at his job. All these points pulled me out of the narrative more than a little bit and keep it from being as profound as some of the other books like it.

It's not a terrible read, by any stretch. If you can forgive the missteps, it ends up being a pretty solid story. It's just difficult to separate the two for me.

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