Rummanah Aasi
  I've been very selective of author's and publisher's request for book reviews mainly because of time constraints. When I was given the blurb to Counting D, I knew I couldn't pass the opportunity to read it and I'm so glad that I took a chance on this book. I learned a lot from Counting D and I think readers will too.

Description: The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

Review: Counting to D is a refreshingly original realistic fiction novel for YA. I've read many YA books and I can only count on my hands on which feature a character is who struggling with learning. Many of us have heard of learning "disabilities", but I would strongly urge all of us to take out the word disability and replace it with the world difference. It is not a matter that the person can't complete the task of reading, which is the case of our narrator Sam, but she does it differently than the majority of the kids in her class.
    Sam is a compelling character and I loved her from the start. She's fifteen and counts by prime numbers or exponents of seven in her head when she's stressed, hides her dyslexia in fear of being labeled dumb by relying on her astonishing audio-graphic memory. Sam breaks the stereotype of those who those typically labeled with learning difference: she is not lazy, is passionate about learning, and is the top student in her class. She is the only sophomore who is taking four AP classes and doing wonderfully in all of them. Sam is also an ordinary teen who is trying to be comfortable in her own skin and tries to make new friends for the first time when her mom gets a job in Oregon and they move miles away from her two best friends. She even falls in love for the first time which I thought was adorable and was thrilled to find that the romance didn't overshadow her self realization.
  I learned a lot about dyslexia in Counting to D. I still believed in the old myth that dyslexia had to do with the order of the letters switched around. Sam explains that it is "the inability to comprehend the symbolic representation of sound" and "that makes it hard for my ears and my eyes to communicate." I never knew that and I didn't feel like explanations such as this one were info dumped. I actually began looking for more information The book also mentions some famous people who had dyslexia like Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Disney and Agatha Christie, all of whom I never knew had dyslexia. The issue is handled with sensitivity and seriousness.
  Counting to D is a quick, enjoyable, and enlightening read about self discovery. It reminds all of us to look beyond the labels we place upon ourselves as well as others and questions are commonly held definition of "being smart".

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language. Recommended for strong Grade 8 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Rules by Cynthia Lord, Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin, The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

GIVEAWAY

Since I enjoyed Counting to D so much. I would like to giveaway my ARC copy of the book to one (1) lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment with your name and an email address so I can contact you if you win. The winner will be drawn randomly via Random.org. The giveaway is open to US and Canada only and will end Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 10 PM EST and the winner will be announced on Monday, February 24th
3 Responses
  1. You are right, there are very few books out there regarding learning disorders. I know about nothing regarding dyslexia and I think this is an important topic that needs more exploration. Thanks for sharing this one!


  2. Now I'm curious as to how she describes it. My fave description has to do with spatial relationships. I haven't read a good book about this difference in a long time. Sounds great!


  3. I've apparently had an erroneous view of dyslexia my whole life! I'm surprised to hear Sam's description of it, but it completely makes sense. Sam sounds like a wonderful character, and I admire the way she is able to work so hard in school despite her learning difference. Lovely review, I really am curious to read more!


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