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.
The main character Willow had a fun and quirky voice that hooked me right away. I loved reading about her unique perspective on the world and learning about how her mind worked.
Willow knew that she was different from everyone else, and yet she never felt the need to conform to others- and that was what made her so awesome. She spoke her mind, followed her heart and ended up inspiring those around her. Despite tragedy and the social forces around her, Willow never lost her originality. Instead she became a stronger version of herself.
The secondary characters had interesting personalities. Even though they tried to be “normal”, everyone had their own quirks and there was more than what met the eye, from Willow’s guidance counsellor to her best friend’s brother. I liked that although these characters weren’t perfect, some of them weren’t even immediately likeable, but they were able to win over my heart.
This was an emotional book, much more than what I had expected going into it. It made me laugh and cry. Over the course of the novel, I was swept up in Willow’s emotional journey. I wished for her to find happiness and fulfillment.
Although this was a MG book, it was quite a heavy read, even more so than some of the YA contemporary novels out there. Definitely a lot of emotions in there for me to process (not a bad thing.)
This was a slower paced book and it should be, especially because it was very reflective. However I felt a bit impatient when nothing seemed to be happening.
Counting by 7s was a heartwarming and emotional book about a girl who learned to be the best version of herself in the most dire circumstances- definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for a reflective MG read!