Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Counting By 7s

I recently finished the book Counting by 7s 
by Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Counting by 7s 

Counting By 7s is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.
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.

I had read wonderful reviews about this book and thought I would give it a try. I grew to love the characters in this book and little Willow is one tough cookie in the nicest manner. She understands she needs a family, but doesn't want to put anyone out. She truly tries to make the best of a terrible situation. As the story goes on, it also shows such diverse people trying to make ends meet while living in poverty and truly appreciating every little thing...such as your own bed....with a mattress. 
What frustrated me was the way the book ended...lots and lots of sugar! 

I would suggest to pick up this book from the library if you need a quick read and a happy ending.
I have been reading several young adult books and really needed a bit more of a heavy read. While I was at the library, I came across the book, The Murder's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers.
(Not to be confused with The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman.)
Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He's always hungered for the love of the girls' self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu had been warned to never to let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself.
Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, but the girls' relatives refuse to care for them and abandon them to a terrifying group home. Even as they plot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn they'll never really belong anywhere or to anyone―that all they have to hold onto is each other.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled, by fear, by duty, to keep him close. Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet success.
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart.

I have always had a hard time reading books that have some sort of violence against children (Yes, I know it is a horrific reality in society.)  It is inconceivable to me that someone could injure or kill their child. Merry & Lulu witness their mother's murder by their father, after LuLu let him into the apartment. Then Merry is attacked by the father, with LuLu also finding her sister in their parents bedroom. These girls have nowhere to turn and no one wants to take the girls in due to their inability to see the children needing help, but due to their own selfish reasons.

Because of their selfish, abusive father, these two sisters grow up shuffling between foster homes & relatives as well as living in constant fear that their father will be released from prison. Lulu feels terribly guilty for her mothers murder and feeling like she didn't protect her sister from her father, while Merry is confused about her feelings towards her father, which aren't what she or anyone would expect considering what he has done.

And that is when I had to finally put the book down. The book is well written, but just not for me. I wanted to reach into the book and grab the girls into big hugs and slap the people around them!   It has gotten great reviews and readers find that it will haunt them for days to come, but I did return it to the library after reading about 80 pages.

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