“When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama.”
I didn’t give the cover much thought aside from thinking it’s cute but after reading the book, just looking at it forms a lump in my throat that if I didn’t control would certainly leak out of my eyes. *sniffs* Willow, an incredibly smart young girl represents the lone red fish in the cover swimming in a different direction as she loses her sense of balance, direction and meaning after the accident that took the life of both her parents in a single day. Counting by 7s has always been her sort of stability, her comfort until the accident happened and a huge chunk of her brightness toward her own life has snuffed out.
“And that is why the deepest form of pain comes out as silence.”
I’m not giving the book five stars because some parts of the plot and even Willow’s character are quite unbelievable but I’m very forgiving in this case because it’s a middle grade book. What I did love about Willow is her keen and spotless scientific, usually very funny observations and how she brings changes to the lives of the people she touched. Here are just some of her very insightful observations:
“Teenage boys are so easily amused.”
“It has been my experience that rewarding and heartbreaking often go hand in hand.”
“I experienced syncope, a transient loss of consciousness, more commonly known as passing out. Yes, I fainted.”
“I wish I that I were old enough to just go live in the Amazon and study the plants there, because it is possible that one of them holds the key to the cure for cancer.”
“I will try to convey a positive attitude, while at the same time monitoring my blood pressure and vital signs. There have been cases of stress-induced cardiomyopathy, which also is known as broken heart syndrome.” (I’ll quote the entire book if I could)
And even though the rest of the characters are slightly stereotyped, it didn’t stop me from enjoying their memorable roles in the story and how together, they form a connection and bond even stronger than that of a family. This middle school book is actually a health book, an encyclopedia, a dictionary, a psychological reference and a literary read all in one and that will make you laugh and cry alternately. Middle school reads never fail me.