Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

Written by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month A touching story shot through with warmth and humour this tells of one girl’s journey to find herself. Willow’s view of the world is unusual. She is a genius with a special skill at numbers and exceptional knowledge of medical conditions but without much skill of any kind in dealing with people. When Willow’s life is turned upside down, she suddenly has to learn how to find the people who can help her. Willow’s journey of self-discovery and the cast of interesting characters who help to is totally absorbing as, largely through instinct, Willow finds the ways she needs to relate to others.

A Piece of Passion from Brenda Gardner, Publisher, Piccadilly Press We published Holly Goldberg Sloan's Just Call My Name for YA in 2012, and we all fell totally in love with her writing. She is evocative, tender, precise, humorous ­ her writing is lyrical and beautiful. I heard early last year that Counting by 7s was a knockout book, and her US publisher was very excited about it. And they were right! Fourteen
year old Willow is a unique character, and all the characters she befriends and who become her 'family' are unforgettable. Tragedy has struck Willow's life, but the book is about hope and life. It is one of the most uplifting books you will have read. It certainly comes out at the top of my best books ever!

If you like the sound of Counting by 7s you may also like to read R.J. Palacio's fantastic novel, Wonder.


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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....Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

If you loved The Curious Incident of the Dog At Night-Time, you'll adore Counting By 7s.


“Willow’s story is one of renewal, and her journey of rebuilding the ties that unite people as a family will stay in readers’ hearts long after the last page.” School Library Journal

“Sloan has masterfully created a graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded character…" -Booklist

"...extraordinary and even inspirational" Publisher's Weekly review

“Bright and heartfelt […] an uplifting story.” Kirkus Reviews

"Readers can only hope for more characters like Willow Chase to come from this
author." Jennifer M. Brown - Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Holly Goldberg Sloan

Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Michigan, USA and spent her childhood living in the Netherlands, Istanbul and various parts of the USA.

She has written and directed a number of successful family feature films. The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California.

I’ll Be There was her debut novel, published to much acclaim, followed by Counting by 7s and Just Call My Name.

A Q&A with Holly

What inspires your writing?

I’m no spring chicken, so I have had many moments that felt special in my work life. I wrote a movie called Angels in the Outfield and we screened that movie in Pittsburgh at the baseball stadium outside at night during the All-Star game in front of 45,000 people. That certainly felt like a very big deal. Counting By 7s was chosen as the best book of the year for young people this past December by Amazon. My agent called and I remember her saying “The largest retailer in the world has picked your book for this honor.” I felt the hair stand up on my arms.

How did you first become an author?
My mother moved not long ago and I found the little report cards that my teachers had written when I was a child. When I was seven years old my teacher wrote: “I hope for the rest of her life Holly tells stories.” I was shocked. What kind of stories does a 7 year old tell? I think I became an author at an early age. I become a screenwriter before I became a published author, and I think that adds an element to my writing.

What are you reading right now?
I just read a book called I’ll Give You The Sun, by Jandy Nelson. I really enjoyed this novel. It’s coming out in the U.S. in September of 2014. And I loved John Corey Whaley’s Noggin. I just finished Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. I’m late to the party on that book, which was great.

What was your earliest career aspiration?
I believe when I was really young I told people that I wanted to be President of the United States when I grew up. This caused people to howl. I believe what I was saying was that I wanted some power in the universe.

What advice would you give to budding writers?
I think all writers are readers. And I think all writers are writers. And by that I mean that you have to do it all the time. You have to write and then rewrite. Your work gets better and better. Your commitment to writing is as important as the writing itself in the beginning. You have to be all in.

What was your favourite childhood book?
I think the first book I truly loved was Charlotte’s Web.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I write sitting on my bed. I have an office in my house. And for a long time when my kids were young I rented an office so that I’d be forced to leave and go to work. But my favourite place to write is sitting on my bed. You can see the ocean from there and I look out at the vast expanse of blue grey and stories begin to tell themselves.

How do you read- print, digitally or both?

I most admire teachers and architects. They both change the world and don’t get enough credit. I loved so many of my teachers as a child. They taught me to think for myself and to dream big.

Are there any books you wish you had written?
There are many, many, many books that I wish I had written. Anything by C.S. Lewis. Anything by Faulkner.

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Book Info


368 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Holly Goldberg Sloan
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Piccadilly Press Ltd an imprint of Templar Publishing

Publication date

1st May 2014




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