Counting by 7’s is a touching story about Willow Chance, a 12-year-old girl with an exceptional mind. She is a girl genius and looks at the world differently. She notices details that others might not notice and is particularly interested in nature and medicine. This however, does not make her a lot of friends at school. Her safe world is at home in her garden or at the library. One of the tricks she uses to calm her nerves is to count by sevens – her favorite number.
Her world comes to crashing down when an unspeakable tragedy occurs. The tragedy leads to a chain of events involving one friend and several acquaintances – a vietnamese family, a social worker, a taxi driver. Willow is soft spoken but has a way of inspiring other people to think differently and try new things. It was wonderful seeing all these misfit characters change for the better because Willow came into their lives.
I also loved how the author changed point of view throughout the story so we could really hear what was going on in Willow’s mind. At no point did you know the fate of this little girl until the very end. It’s an emotional story that might have you reaching for the tissue box on occasion but it’s a great middle grade book about the true meaning of family.
There are many references to the number seven in the book and when I finished reading the story last night, I happened to look at the clock and it was exactly seven o’clock. Crazy coincidence.