As my first review for the new year, Counting by 7s provides perfect inspiration for New Year's resolutions. While the main conflict deals with tragedy and overcoming grief, the underlying message is one of conquering fear, taking responsibility, and helping each other. Holly Goldberg Sloan presents a wealth of quirky characters with varying problems and needs. Through unexpected experiences they learn that 'when you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama.'
Willow Chance is a child genius who struggles to make friends. When sent to a district counselor after being accused of cheating, Willow finds acceptance. Dell Duke, the counselor, is lazy and no help. However, when Willow meets Mai, another student at Dell's office, the two develop an unlikely friendship. Soon after, Willow's parents are killed in an accident and she is left alone. Strong-willed Mai takes control and a diverse group of characters begin to rely on one another in unexpected ways. The story of how their lives change is hopeful and inspiring. Readers of all ages will love Willow Chance and her friends.