Counting by 7s
Holly Goldberg Sloan
The misfit male counselor, Dell Duke, is lost as to how to even take action in this situation even though others are turning to him for help. Mai and Quang-ha, sister and brother who live with their mother in a garage behind their mother's nail salon and it is Mai who comes to the aid of Willow when it is obvious that she has nowhere to go. With this blanket of sadness over everyone it would seem this book would spill tears right out of it's pages but there is something magical about Willow Chance. Her parents were high-spirited happy people who loved her deeply for all her unusual quirkiness and she has thrived in that love. Now without that love from the two most important people she has to find a way to survive.
I loved I'll Be There Holly Goldberg Sloan's first novel and find that the two books have a similarity in that she takes oddball characters throws them into tough situations and makes us love them.
Willow is a genius and knows things that most people don't and she's not afraid to share. Through her interactions with others she pushes them forward even though she herself cannot get past her grief. This is an amazing realistic fiction book but with such unusual characters that one can only make sure to push it into the hands of many young 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students to see what they take from it. I can't imagine anyone not cheering for Willow.