Book of the week: Counting by 7s

Lately, I’ve been binge reading books and I figured I might as well make a fun hobby out of my obsessive reading. I figured I’d pick the book I liked the most during the week and post a review. I’m going to try and keep this up for as long as I can (I’m terrible with sticking to habits but I’m going to try anyway). So here goes nothing!

I couldn’t possibly think of a better book to start this review thing with. So this week, after going through a very interesting suggestion list on buzzfeed, I picked out the book ‘Counting by 7s’ written by Holly Goldberg Solan. I didn’t have many expectations from the book, but it turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read this month!

Counting by 7s is a very simple story, really. It doesn’t deal with some mutant superhero burdened with the safety of the universe or a warlock training to capture the moon. It is simply the story of a little girl named Willow Chance.

“I’m an only child. I’m adopted. And I’m different”

That is how Willow Chance describes herself. It doesn’t half cover the beauty of the character of this intelligent, thoughtful little girl, but it provides an adequate insight in the beginning. And from there, she takes us into her little world- one that is shattered by the death of her adoptive parents. This is the story of how she gets back up after life knocks her down with the force of a wrecking ball. Time heals, blossoming friendships hold her together and slowly, Willow Chance becomes whole again. She faces her fair share of problems, insecurities, and what not but with a spirit that surprises everyone and with her friends who become her new family by her side, she gets up and plows through.

Willow Chance is a great character, so beautifully crafted and even more beautifully presented. But the book isn’t short on such characters. One of my personal favorites are Mai and Quang-ha Nguyen, siblings two years apart, “risky” teenagers and beautiful human beings. Mai and Quang-ha are anything but alike. But their characters being out a similar emotion with the readers. It is impossible not to fall in love with these two.

There is something about this book that makes me feel like I’m being hugged by my grandma after she’s fed me one of her handmade gulaab jamuns. The warmth the words bring you…it’s indescribable. The book deals with the tragedy that comes with the death of Willow’s parents in a very realistic, yet, positive way. She grieves, she loses herself and yet, she comes back, a different person, yes, but perhaps a better one.

While the writing style seems not very special or different at first, I was amazed by how seamlessly the tone of the book changed through time. Willow’s mind is in a state of transition through most of the book and as an amateur writer, I appreciate and applaud Holly Solan for making the change seem so easy and seamless.

There are many things about this book that will catch your attention. The characters, the style..the plot itself, really…but more than anything, I think this book will help you heal yourself. At any point of time, I always find myself changing and healing with the characters that touch my heart. I read a depressing book and sure enough, I will be a dull bore for at least a week. And Counting by 7s has just filled me such hope…I almost feel like I can do anything.

The thing about this book is that it teaches you how temporary everything is. You never know what will happen. And you can never say, for sure, that your future will be a certain way. The best you can do is live the moment you are in to the fullest and appreciate all you have as much as you can. That’s it, really. That’s the secret to living a happy and fulfilled life.

I once read a quote somewhere that said, ‘Some books make us laugh, some make us cry, but the best ones are those which make us feel’, and Counting by 7s is definitely something that will touch your heart and make you feel things you never thought you could for someone who wasn’t even real. Willow Chance will make you fall in love with her and her friends and as she figures her life out,  she might just teach you a thing or two.

I don’t believe in rating things, but I would definitely recommend all of you to pick this book up. Especially, if you’re in a dark place and you feel like you could use a hug. You will not be disappointed.

And if you’re still not motivated to read this, I’m going to leave a small excerpt from the book here :

Willow had said that everything in life could be seen in a garden. According to her, if a plant was in decent soil and had sun and enough water, a bud would at some point show up. It would start small and very green

Sometimes bugs ate holes in the exterior of the bud, but if they didn’t get too deep into the thing, it would bloom. And the world would see a flower

With time, the outer petals would start to wrinkle, beginning at the tips. The shape couldn’t hold and the whole thing would open up big and then sloppy. The rose was now affected by the wind or the rain or even the hot sun. The petals would finally just dry up, and break away, falling to the ground. That left only a round bulb, which was the skull of the thing. And in time, it would finally drop as well, returning to the soil. 

There was as much of a lesson in that, Willow had said, as in anything she had been told by anyone about life or death or the stages in between”

Brilliant, right?!

Happy Reading! 🙂


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