"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, July 19, 2013

Counting by 7s

If you read my #IMWAYR post, you will know that I was reading  Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.

I read it. I loved it. Here's my take.

One thing leads to another.
Often in unexpected ways."

Sloan has woven a beautiful and intricate, yet patchwork, quilt of connectedness and belonging. Willow Chance -- health-conscious, natural world enthusiast, middle-school student (and genius) -- begins to rebuild her life after both parents die in a car accident.  

Sloan has placed each reader firmly inside the head and heart of Willow Chance.  

We feel what she feels:

"Air is sticking at the top and the bottom of my lungs."

"I'm not waiting."
"I'm just being."
"Time exists only in my mind."

We see what she sees:

"I don't see anything anymore, but I can't help but notice."

This novel is open and raw like a fresh wound, but just as wounds heal, so does Willow and so do we readers.  We heal because of Willow. We heal because of the people who rise up to support her.  The quotes at chapter headings should not be glossed over - as each character is introduced they give the reader insight into qualities. Sloan allows each character to grow and reveal unexpected traits or gifts demonstrating that we all matter or have worth. 

Sloan has created a character for which every reader will root.

Willow Chance is a numbers girl.
She's natural and prime like her favorite number 7.

Willow is a scientist 
She learned about life in the garden she created.

"If plants made sounds, it would all be different. But they communicate with color and shape and size and texture."

Willow Chance is health conscious  
She knows about germs, medical conditions and healthy eating and she'll share this knowledge with those who need it. (These health concerns and this knowledge add a light-hearted but grounded feel to the story.)

Willow is wise
When inquiring for a sample form and met with resistance from a government worker she thinks to herself, "I want to add that I am getting a lesson in bureaucracy every time she opens her mouth." (She is also witty).

"I don't need more theory, but rather more experience with reality."

Willow knows people
These are imperfect people leading imperfect lives, but she recognizes the gifts each has to give and helps them see that for themselves.

Sloan, through Willow, has pieced together a patchwork quilt of connectedness through language, ideas, experience and hope. 

One thing leads to another.
Often in unexpected ways."

And thanks to Sloan, we are connected - to Willow, Mai, Patti, Jairo, Dell, and Quang-Ha.

And, thanks to Willow, I will count to 7.

1 comment:

  1. This book is top of my TBR list. Thanks for the wonderful review!