I just have to say up front that I would never Google myself and the name of my soon-to-be-released book to see what book-lovers are saying about it. Even if it was really late at night and there was nothing good on TV and I was bored. So, I really can’t explain how I came across this review. I just stumbled upon it–what a happy accident. Whoops!
In all seriousness, I really felt like this reviewer “got it” with the story of Counting Backwards, so I’m reposting it here, so that I can have it forever.
This is one of those books that takes a different sort of look at not only family dysfunction but coming of age and figuring yourself out. Though Taylor is adamant that there is nothing wrong with her, and she doesn’t belong at Sunny Meadows, and in some respects she is right, there is also such a deep rooted anger in her that there’s plenty of reasons why the place can help her. Still, Lascarso creates a beautifully dissonance between the two, of true more easily recognizable and quantifiable mental problems with that of anger and the effects of not so stellar parents. Watching Taylor navigate through all this and learn to trust people is what makes this book, standing it out against other similar books in a great way. Rich in character development and rapt with emotions, Counting Backwards is definitely not just another psych ward book.
Taylor has such a deep love for her mother, even through the anger and disappointment, you can’t help but not only feel for her, but understand her as well. Stuck with a drunk mother after her father walked out on them, and harboring an unending amount of anger at him for it, but also at her mother who is too weak to overcome her alcoholism, it’s so easy to understand why Taylor not only acts the way she does, but thinks the way she does as well. Even when she wants to curse and scream at her mom, however, it’s also clear to see how much it hurts her to do it, and how hard it is to stay strong in taking a stand against her mom. Add in the harder to pinpoint issues with her father, that hint at simply a conflict of personality but end at something much greater, and she is a force of a mess that will drag you in. Determined to escape from Sunny Meadows, and not completely caring about who she might hurt in the process, there is a selfishness to her that goes far to develop her character. Her path is a heartbreaking one, yet a stunningly well done one as well, and she is definitely a character readers won’t easily forget.
Given the length of the stays in Sunny Meadows, both Taylor and readers get to know several other characters very well. From clearly not totally right in the head Charlotte, who is happiest when she’s coloring and sees the world in a different sort of beautiful way, to mute but intense and perceptive A.J., Lascarso has built each character vividly and individually. Adding in some romance, yet having it be far from the focus, she has crafted a realism into the book that shines. Though possibly coming off as a bit overdramatic at times, given the situation and the overall play out of the book, it’s easy to fall into this one and not want to put it down. With strong writing, and a well designed high security psych unit, the attention and effort put into this book shows easily. Intense at times, but sweet at others, this one is raw in all the best ways. Taking a different path to recovery and therapy, and pulling in some unique elements, Counting Backwards will capture readers.
The author of this lovely review along with many others is Kari at agoodaddiction.blogspot.com and if you’re wondering what a good addiction might be, it’s books!