Book Review: Counting Backwards

Counting Backwards CoverBook: Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso

Published August 2012 by Atheneum Books For Young Readers|187 pages

Where I Got It: the nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Counting Backwards on goodreads & Laura Lascarso on Twitter & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Three weeks ago I tried to run away from home. Now all I want is to go back.

When troubled Taylor Truwell is caught with a stolen car and lands in court for resisting arrest, her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, her therapist, and vicious fellow patients. But even as Taylor struggles to hold on to her stubborn former self, she finds herself relenting as she lets in two unlikely friends–Margo, a former child star and arsonist, and AJ, a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak. In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love.

What I Thought:

Counting Backwards is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, but I never managed to get around to it until now.  I liked Counting Backwards but not as much as I was expecting.

A big reason why I didn’t like it as much as I thought is Taylor herself.  Her time in a psychiatric correctional facility is interesting, especially because she has a lot of issues to work through.  But I really wish we saw more of her life before she ends up in court.  Her issues with her parents definitely come up, but I really wanted to see a bit more of her relationship with them before.  I think it’s because I wanted a bit more context and history.

I do like that we see how she deals with things and how she manages to find a couple friends.  We don’t know what her life is like after leaving, but it does seem like things are headed in a good direction for her.  I do wonder if she keeps in touch with Margo and A.J. afterwards.  And I like that pretty much the entire book is set in the facility she’s at.  Even though she’s fighting this the entire way- even saying what she thinks they want to hear- she does finally start to make changes because she really wants to change.

At the same time, though, Taylor starting to work through things…I didn’t quite believe the changes she started to make. It wasn’t fake or inauthentic, but she spent so much time resisting it that it didn’t seem as believable as it could have been.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Counting Backwards but not as much as I was hoping.  I did like see how much Taylor changed, even when I found those changes to be not quite believable.  Counting Stars gets 3 stars.

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