I picked this up simply to cross off another title from this year’s Caudill award nominated books, and I wouldn’t have made it past the first couple chapters if I hadn’t assumed people liked it for a reason. The protagonist is a little wooden (although that’s definitely part of her genius personality), and I didn’t like the way paragraphs tended to be one sentence long.
BUT THEN. But then, Counting By 7s became something really beautiful. Middle grade books have the opportunity to delve into the darkest parts of life (grief, racism, poverty) and address them with simple optimism. This story was all of that, and it was so refreshing. It’s not that these issues are resolved easily, but every page is infused with hope. Whereas an adult novel might veer into something maudlin, Counting By 7s is fierce in its assertion that all things can be endured and overcome. I loved it. Continue reading