Summary: Laren’s choice to start a relationship with her friend’s ex-boyfriend, Scott, makes all of her friendships past tense when her friends find out. The loss continues when Laren’s father dies as a result of a car accident, and a schoolmate reveals Laren’s father was not alone in the car. Suddenly Laren feels everything she knew about her father is in question, and she wonders whether he ever really loved her. Counselling helps her realise that people are not all good or all bad, and Laren decides she will not be her father’s daughter in her own relationships.
Number of Pages: 198
Age Range: 13-14
Review: A lighter read considering the subject matter, Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard follows Laren’s journey through the unthinkable loss of her father and the revelation that he was not the man she thought he was.
I liked the parallel storylines of Laren and her father, both in questionable relationships that hurt the people they love. Laren realises in a painful way that Scott is someone who is always looking for the next girl, but she also realises that she doesn’t have to take the same route as her father. That was powerful.
Sherrard’s resolution was satisfying, and I was happy that Laren made some true friends to help her through the hard times. I also enjoyed Laren’s relationship with her counsellor, because when she got over her initial reluctance toward therapy, it helped her sort things through in an honest and real way.
Jackson was my favourite though. The faithful little brother that Laren appreciates and cares for; I just liked how he fit into their family and provided some comic relief.
I’d recommend this book for young female teen readers.
“You are supposed to love your brother
because he is your brother,
But now and then he gives me other reasons,
like today, when I get home
and the little turniphead asks me if any of my friends
have smartened up yet.” – Laren from Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard, page 23
“It is so much easier to spot a
than it is a
‘last.'” – Laren from Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard, page 30
“Finding out I
have options changes everything. Sometimes,
it’s just about having a choice.” – Laren from Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard, page 130