Monday, October 28, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Counting by 7's

This week's book was high on my to-read list and was also nominated for a Cybil. It is a book that once you start reading, you can't put it down. It's addicting!

by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Dial 2013

From Goodreads:
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.

Why kids will love it - Willow is such a fascinating character; she doesn't behave like normal kids, so the reader never knows what she will do or say.  She is also easy to relate to in her own way and you can't help but want her to find happiness again. At the same time, the other characters are all unique, and reading how they all interact and grow right along with Willow makes for an addicting story.

What I learned as a writer - Making sure each character is well-rounded, even if they are only minor, is so important. I think that's one of the reasons this book works, each character has been well thought out and it shows.  I also learned that having a surprise at the end of a book, even if it is small, gives such a satisfying ending for the reader. 

The Cybils nominating period has ended for the year for everyone. Our list in the fiction middle grade category is impressively long. I may have to lock myself in a room for a few days to make a major dent!

Have a great week! I can't believe my next post will be in November.  Crazy!