Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan is a middle-grade novel about grief and family.
Chance has always known that her parents love her very much and support
her in her many endeavors, such as researching human biology and
disease, gardening, and the color red. Her school has not always been as
accepting of Willow's eccentricities, and she is placed in counseling
when the middle school principal suspects her of cheating. In the
counselor's office, she meets Mai, an older student who is accompanying
her troubled brother to his counseling sessions, and a friendship
springs up between the two. When tragedy strikes, it's Mai who takes
control of the situation. Over the course of the story, Mai's family,
the school counselor, and a taxi driver all get to know Willow, and each
of their lives are changed in positive and unexpected ways.
book has a lot of heart -- it is heartfelt, heartbreaking in places,
but ultimately heartwarming. Each character is multifaceted and the
character development over the course of the story is a pleasure to
read. If you enjoy realistic juvenile fiction with good writing and
interesting characters, give this book a try.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)