Counting by 7s is one of the books suggested by my Mock Newbery group for possibilities for the 2014 Newbery Award. My library has it classified as a teen book, but I think it's on the border of children and teen. It's fairly lengthy at 380 pages.
Willow is adopted. She is a child prodigy obsessed with botany, medicine--specifically diseases and skin disorders, and the number 7. Tragedy strikes Willow from the onset of the book and you are able to see her character's quirks as the story continues. I couldn't put the book down; I adored it.
My rating: *****
Summary from goodreads:
An Amazon Best Book of the Year. A B.E.A. BUZZ BOOK 2013. A Junior Library Guild Selection. A Kids Indie Next List #4 of Top Ten Autumn 2013. A Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2014-2015 Master List.
In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.
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.