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Counting to Perfect

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Julia used to be the perfect big sister: she played great games and took good care of Cassie. Now life at home revolves around Julia and her daughter, Addie. No one pays much attention to Cassie: not to her competitive swim meets, and not to what's gone wrong with her friends. When Julia confides in Cassie that she'll be leaving with Addie--without telling their parents--C Julia used to be the perfect big sister: she played great games and took good care of Cassie. Now life at home revolves around Julia and her daughter, Addie. No one pays much attention to Cassie: not to her competitive swim meets, and not to what's gone wrong with her friends. When Julia confides in Cassie that she'll be leaving with Addie--without telling their parents--Cassie jumps in the car, too. As the days of lumberjack breakfasts and hotel pools start to add up, Cassie has to wonder: Could the sister who seems to be the source of all her problems also be the friend she's missed the most?


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Julia used to be the perfect big sister: she played great games and took good care of Cassie. Now life at home revolves around Julia and her daughter, Addie. No one pays much attention to Cassie: not to her competitive swim meets, and not to what's gone wrong with her friends. When Julia confides in Cassie that she'll be leaving with Addie--without telling their parents--C Julia used to be the perfect big sister: she played great games and took good care of Cassie. Now life at home revolves around Julia and her daughter, Addie. No one pays much attention to Cassie: not to her competitive swim meets, and not to what's gone wrong with her friends. When Julia confides in Cassie that she'll be leaving with Addie--without telling their parents--Cassie jumps in the car, too. As the days of lumberjack breakfasts and hotel pools start to add up, Cassie has to wonder: Could the sister who seems to be the source of all her problems also be the friend she's missed the most?

30 review for Counting to Perfect

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abigail McKenna

    Mostly we called her Addie. Never "the baby". Julia was very strict about that. The other part of her name, the Cassandra part, that's after me. But nobody calls me that either. \ I think my main feeling after finishing this book was confused. Not because it was bad, it was just... weird. The writing style didn't seem to fit with the story the author was telling? But I've heard amazing things about some of her other books so I'll probably still pick them up in the future. What I liked: - The famil Mostly we called her Addie. Never "the baby". Julia was very strict about that. The other part of her name, the Cassandra part, that's after me. But nobody calls me that either. \ I think my main feeling after finishing this book was confused. Not because it was bad, it was just... weird. The writing style didn't seem to fit with the story the author was telling? But I've heard amazing things about some of her other books so I'll probably still pick them up in the future. What I liked: - The family doesn't abandon Julia when Addie is born. They just bring Addie right on in and go with it. Cassie remarks at one point, "I wonder if people think we're sisters" and she's probably right they probably do but I think it's kind of cool because good on their parents? - In the same vein, it's got a distinctly pro-life feel about it. Like, aborting the baby was never an option for Julia or the family. They just adjusted their life to work around her and I think that's awesome to see. - Cassie is a swimmer and she's really good and I think the last time I read a book where the main girl was a swimmer was the American Girl Chrissa and I thought it was really cool. - The whole "omd my friends aren't actually friends" turned out not as badly as I thought. - Addie is adorableee - Carter is actually a part of Addie's life and chooses to be so and yes okay they're both still kids but I appreciate that he stuck around. - The differences in the locations they stayed in were cool and made me feel like I was on the road trip with them, which was neat. - Cassie is a pretty cool character and I kinda feel like she'd be a great little sister to have. - "LUMBERJACK. LUMBERJACK. LUMBERJACK." What I didn't like (I don't like writing this stuff blergh) : - Idk why Julia decides to run off? Like, yes, okay you're a rebellious teenager who feels smothered by her parents. Whatever, man, they're keeping you from having to pay for rent or diapers or clothes or food or anything else and you're just going to leave? And take your sister with you? Why?? - Tbh I just didn't care for Julia all that much *shrug* - The whole thing just kind of made me uncomfortable and I can't quite put a finger on why because I was so lost for most of it in the "why?". Which, I guess, the author addressed at the end but I didn't think the answer was satisfactory? I just don't know it just made me feel funky. - Maybe it's because Julia distinctly tells Cassie not to contact their parents and it just made me feel like it was mildly abduction-y and kinda… idk, abusive? And then when Cassie does contact their dad he just says "yeah it's fine you can keep traveling just check in every night." I'm sorry, what?? WHAT??? - I didn't totally care for the narrator's voice, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the book. - but it was only like 4 hours long so that's mainly why I didn't just stop. So yeah I don't think I'd recommend this book? I mean, like I said, it's got good pro-life messages to it so if that's what you're looking for you might enjoy it! I still love Cassie and Addie so it gets 2.5 stars from me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I am a bit conflicted about this one. Had I read it as a child, I've no doubt I would have enjoyed it quite a bit. And, although I still found the story and particularly the protagonist and narrator, Cassie, enjoyable, as an adult, there were certain things that simply did not work. Counting to Perfect is told through the eyes of an eleven-year-old competitive swimmer. Her older sister, Julia, gave birth to a little girl about a year earlier. Since learning of their seventeen-year-old daughter's I am a bit conflicted about this one. Had I read it as a child, I've no doubt I would have enjoyed it quite a bit. And, although I still found the story and particularly the protagonist and narrator, Cassie, enjoyable, as an adult, there were certain things that simply did not work. Counting to Perfect is told through the eyes of an eleven-year-old competitive swimmer. Her older sister, Julia, gave birth to a little girl about a year earlier. Since learning of their seventeen-year-old daughter's pregnancy, the girls' parents have become hyper focused on Julia to the point that Cassie has begun to feel invisible. Compounding her feelings of insecurity are the typical woes of near adolescence, namely the changing dynamics of friendships. When Julia decides to fly the coop, at least for a little while, she invites her younger sister along on the "adventure." Winding along the roads, stopping at hotels and resorts, hitting up diners for lumberjack breakfasts, and always, taking the time to explore swimming holes, the sisters began to patch up their strained relationship. Along the way, Cassie's hurt feelings are soothed as she discovers more insight into Julia's life. The problem the adult in me had was primarily a logistical one. I find it hard to believe parents, upon discovering their daughters' have run away, would acquiesce to allow them to continue their wanderings. Seriously? Two unaccompanied minors and a baby not yet eating solid foods are free to roam? Not likely. I know that we as readers make a bargain of sorts when we crack open a book. There is some element of suspending disbelief and letting loose in order to accept the terms of the story. However, as I am no fan of either fantasy or science fiction, the more realistic the plot, the more likely I am to believe.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Netgalley Cassie wishes that life were the way it used to be, before her older sister Julia had a baby her senior year in high school. Now, instead of going away to college, she will be living at home with Addie. Cassie's friends aren't allowed to visit her home now, and her parents don't come to her swim meets as much. When Julia mentions that she and Addie are going on a vacation, she asks Cassie to come along. Since she has swim team, Cassie doesn't want to go, but ends up tagging a E ARC from Netgalley Cassie wishes that life were the way it used to be, before her older sister Julia had a baby her senior year in high school. Now, instead of going away to college, she will be living at home with Addie. Cassie's friends aren't allowed to visit her home now, and her parents don't come to her swim meets as much. When Julia mentions that she and Addie are going on a vacation, she asks Cassie to come along. Since she has swim team, Cassie doesn't want to go, but ends up tagging along. Julia doesn't have a plan-- she just wants to get away. The two girls have some savings, and spend time staying in hotels and eating lumberjack breakfasts, having great days hanging out together. They let their parents know they are okay, and while the parents aren't happy, they instruct the girls to check in and let them have their trip without freaking out. Eventually, Cassie wants to get back to her friends and swim team, so her parents fly her home. She is able to work things out with her parents, and when Julia returns, she is, too. Strengths: This was an interesting and fun road trip book, and I liked that the girls followed safety protocol with their parents. Julia is a good mother for the most part, and takes care of both Addie and Cassie. The parents are portrayed as very understanding and see how the family dynamic could be slightly different. The sisterly bond is sweet. Weaknesses: The trip seemed like an extreme reaction to a fairly good, if unfortunate, situation. Not many young single mothers would have the financial assets to take such a break. What I really think: I was confused by the reactions to Addie. It's 2018. I marched for abortion rights, so was sad to see that Julia did not avail herself of them. That said, having chosen to have the baby, her embarrassment seemed odd, if somewhat understandable. What was not understandable was the portrayal of the action of the friends' parents not allowing them to come to Cassie's house. That sounds like a 1960s reaction, and I worry that my students, many of whom have been raised by young, single mothers, might be confused and feel bad about their own situations after reading this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    #kidlitexchange #partner ; thanks to @randomhousekids for the free book! . 〰 〰 COUNTING TO PERFECT is absolutely pitch-perfect and a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 read for me. The book addresses teen pregnancy, friendship issues, competitive swimming, and family problems, but above all it is a beautiful testament to the deep love between sisters. ❤ @suzannelafleurauthor is so good at letting the reader infer everyone’s feelings...the tension is palpable in Cassie and Julia’s house at the start of the book and in flashbac #kidlitexchange #partner ; thanks to @randomhousekids for the free book! . 〰️ 〰️ COUNTING TO PERFECT is absolutely pitch-perfect and a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 read for me. The book addresses teen pregnancy, friendship issues, competitive swimming, and family problems, but above all it is a beautiful testament to the deep love between sisters. ❤️ @suzannelafleurauthor is so good at letting the reader infer everyone’s feelings...the tension is palpable in Cassie and Julia’s house at the start of the book and in flashbacks and yet this is all conveyed in looks and emotions. LaFleur excels at telling a complex, fascinating story with the fewest words possible. BEAUTIFUL BLUE WORLD and THREADS OF BLUE, her genre-defying duology from the last couple years is another excellent example of this. The books are short (around 200 pages), and yet they had me thinking about them for days. I will be thinking about this one for a while, as well, and it’s sure to be a hit with students in my school. . 〰️ 〰️ Summary: Cassie is a competitive swimmer and a rising seventh grader who has grown apart from her older sister, Julia, a teen mom to baby Addie. When Julia starts feeling trapped, all three take off a road trip that will bring them closer (and make their parents panic!). . 〰️ 〰️ #bookstagram #book #reading #bibliophile #bookworm #bookaholic #booknerd #bookgram #librarian #librariansfollowlibrarians #librariansofinstagram #booklove #booktography #bookstagramfeature #bookish #bookaddict #booknerdigans #booknerd #ilovereading #instabook #futurereadylibs #ISTElibs #TLChat #mgbooks

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Interest Level: 3-6 Has your life ever been changed because of someone else? Maybe a brother or a sister that seems to get all of the attention to make you feel invisible? This has become the life of Cassie. Cassie is in middle school, she has two best friends, and she is the star on her swim team. Her parents always show her attention and they never missed a swim meet, that is until her teenage, senior in high school sister becomes pregnant, then Cassie's world changes. The once happy home is no Interest Level: 3-6 Has your life ever been changed because of someone else? Maybe a brother or a sister that seems to get all of the attention to make you feel invisible? This has become the life of Cassie. Cassie is in middle school, she has two best friends, and she is the star on her swim team. Her parents always show her attention and they never missed a swim meet, that is until her teenage, senior in high school sister becomes pregnant, then Cassie's world changes. The once happy home is now full of fighting and yelling, before and after the baby is born. Everything in Cassie's home now revolves around her sister, Julia, and her baby, Addie. Now, Cassie misses swim meets and when she does get to them she has no one in the stands pulling for her. One of her best friends is not allowed to come to her house anymore and Cassie is beginning to feel left out with her friends. Julia's life is not easier either. She is not going to college like she had planned and her parents are control freaks that makes raising Addie on her own very hard. One night Julia announces to Cassie that she is going to run away and take Addie with her. She asks Cassie to go with her but she says no. However, early the next morning when she hears Julia leaving, Cassie throws some things in a bag and hops in the car with her. Julia, Cassie, and Addie are about to go on the trip of a lifetime. Will they be safe on their own? Will they be allowed to come back home? If they do go home, will things change for Julia and Cassie? This is a great read about how the actions of others not only affect themselves but all the others around them. I loved this book because so many of our kids have to face living in a home just like this. This story is told from the perspective of Cassie. Even though she didn't do anything wrong, her life changed dramatically because of the actions of her sister. In the beginning of the book I was cheering for Cassie but by the end of the book I was cheering for the whole family to become a family again. Don't miss this one! Follow me: Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.weebly.com/ Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra... Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr... Twitter - @laurieevans27 Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Cassie's life suddenly is disrupted once her older sister, Julia, becomes pregnant and gives birth to Addie while still in high school. A promising swimmer, Cassie, 12, is angry at her sister and disappointed at what she regards as a mistake. Since she's always admired her perfect sister, Cassie is confused that she would make this decision that changes the lives of everyone in their family completely. She resents the sudden focus on Addie and everything surrounding the pregnancy and baby. Her p Cassie's life suddenly is disrupted once her older sister, Julia, becomes pregnant and gives birth to Addie while still in high school. A promising swimmer, Cassie, 12, is angry at her sister and disappointed at what she regards as a mistake. Since she's always admired her perfect sister, Cassie is confused that she would make this decision that changes the lives of everyone in their family completely. She resents the sudden focus on Addie and everything surrounding the pregnancy and baby. Her parents seems to have forgotten her and her swimming and haven't even noticed that her friends are shunning her as the result of the baby and the judgmental attitudes of their parents. A rift has developed between these two sisters who were once so close that they played games together and shared special moments. When Julia, 18, decides she needs a break from the overprotective attitudes of their parents and as she watches her former classmates prepare to go away to college, she takes off on a road trip with Addie and Cassie. They drive long distances, repairing their relationship over breakfasts and swims in pools and lakes. Although the author effectively captures the resentment Cassie has over how everything has changed as the result of something over which she has no control, I felt sorry for the parents. The girls leave without telling anyone or leaving a note, and all that spending of money seemed somewhat frivolous, smacking of privilege and financial options that most teen mothers would not have. Other than fixing things between them and clearing the air during the trip, it seemed to me that all this could have been resolved with a few heartfelt, honest discussions among the various family members. It felt odd too that there seemed to be such a stigma attached to getting pregnant while still in school. It would seem that this happens fairly often. The author effectively captures the strong bond among family members and the love Cassie and Julia have for Addie quite well in several scenes. The book might help other readers who are confused when someone they regard as perfect falls from a pedestal as well as offering some support for anyone who feels as though his/her own importance has been supplanted by another for whatever reason.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is an unusual take on teen pregnancy, in that the narrator is the little eleven year old sister, Cassie. She is feeling estranged because everything is about her sister, Julia and the baby, Addie, and she is not getting the attention she used to get. And of course, this being a middle school story, she is also having friendship problems. Julia decides that she is fed up with being told what to do, by her parents, and her boyfriend, so decides to run away from home, with the baby of course. A This is an unusual take on teen pregnancy, in that the narrator is the little eleven year old sister, Cassie. She is feeling estranged because everything is about her sister, Julia and the baby, Addie, and she is not getting the attention she used to get. And of course, this being a middle school story, she is also having friendship problems. Julia decides that she is fed up with being told what to do, by her parents, and her boyfriend, so decides to run away from home, with the baby of course. And Cassie decides, at the last minute, to go with her as well. There is never any danger. There is never any fear. The parents are tracking the sisters via their cell phones. They both have money that they have saved up, so they aren't exactly staying beside the road every night. It is a bonding of the sisters, to be sure, but that is it. I felt like there could have been more there. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I absolutely devoured this book. I've read several teen books that deal with pregnancy, but this is the first I've come across geared towards middle grade. It was done very well and held a good balance of realistically portraying the ups and downs, while creating well-rounded characters. I don't believe for a second the parents would have reacted the way they did to the road trip, but otherwise this was totally captivating and engaging.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    I had the opportunity to read a NetGalley digital ARC of this middle grade fiction novel in exchange for a review. This is a realistic look at the issue of teenage pregnancy from the point of view of eighteen-year-old Julia’s younger sister, Cassie. From the moment Julia’s family found out she was pregnant, the whole household seemed to revolve around being supportive and helpful to the expectant young mother. Feeling left out and forgotten, Cassie has built up a strong resentment to her family, I had the opportunity to read a NetGalley digital ARC of this middle grade fiction novel in exchange for a review. This is a realistic look at the issue of teenage pregnancy from the point of view of eighteen-year-old Julia’s younger sister, Cassie. From the moment Julia’s family found out she was pregnant, the whole household seemed to revolve around being supportive and helpful to the expectant young mother. Feeling left out and forgotten, Cassie has built up a strong resentment to her family, especially Julia. After dealing with the pressure of learning how to be a mother while earning her high school diploma, Julia decides to take the baby away with her. Borrowing Cassie’s life savings to make this summer road trip, Julia takes Cassie along, too. The girls get in the car and go hundreds of miles away to stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, go swimming, and enjoy perfect days together; all without getting their parents’ permission first. I like that this story gives voice to the frustrations that younger siblings feel when there is a family crisis centered around an older brother or sister. All of the family’s attention and energy is given to the older child’s circumstances, leaving the younger child feeling abandoned and unimportant. In that way, this book reminds me of The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner (in which an older daughter’s drug addiction has this effect on her younger sister) and Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles (in which a middle school boy is impacted by his sister’s eating disorder). Middle grade students that have ever felt overshadowed by an older family member will be able to relate to this. I also like the way the relationship between the two sister develops into something special during the course of this journey they are taking. The narration shifts back and forth in time; to the past when the family first found out about the pregnancy and the birth to the present adventure in the car. The story moves along quickly but left me satisfied that everything is going to turn out all right in this family. Although this book deals with the topic of teenage pregnancy, I think it’s written in a way that is appropriate for middle school students grades six and up. While the book brushes the ideas of shame, disappointment, and judgmental busybodies, the main thrust of the book is on the way this pregnancy affects Cassie, the younger sister. Her anger is more about the family not coming to cheer her on during her swim meets, missed swim practices, and tensions with her own friends because of all this. This is a book that many kids will be able to recognize themselves in.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim Brosan

    While reading this book, I couldn't help thinking of my 11-year-old daughter and her feelings of distance from her 15-year-old brother. Being a pre-teen is so challenging and can be so lonely. When you're used to getting attention and suddenly don't get it, it can break your heart. Julia used to be the best big sister ever, until she became a teen mom. Cassie spends her sixth-grade year worrying about how her family will cope with a baby, what will happen to Julia, whether she'll survive labor ( While reading this book, I couldn't help thinking of my 11-year-old daughter and her feelings of distance from her 15-year-old brother. Being a pre-teen is so challenging and can be so lonely. When you're used to getting attention and suddenly don't get it, it can break your heart. Julia used to be the best big sister ever, until she became a teen mom. Cassie spends her sixth-grade year worrying about how her family will cope with a baby, what will happen to Julia, whether she'll survive labor (or that baby Addie will break her body in half!) What she didn't expect was sleepless nights for herself, getting forgotten, missing swim meets and practices so that Julia's needs would be met first. When the end of the year comes, her father questions her B in science, even though she earned As in all her other classes. No one gave her credit or congratulations for what she did well. Her best friends and swim teammates are distant and one of their moms is even afraid that Julia's teen pregnancy and parenthood is catching, so she can't come to Cassie's house anymore. She's upset and frustrated and Julia seems to feel the same but Cassie can't understand why. When Julia decides to run away, Cassie goes with her and Addie. This is the story of their Sister Road Trip and finding themselves and each other again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Petrie

    Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.--- Happy Book Birthday to this middle grade realistic fiction story! This would have been the type of book that I would have picked up as a young reader. It’s a story filled with family and friendship drama, road trip adventures, and a satisfying ending. The narrator is 6th grader Cassie, and her point of view gives the conflict in this story a fresh perspective. The plot revolves around a family tha Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.--- Happy Book Birthday to this middle grade realistic fiction story! This would have been the type of book that I would have picked up as a young reader. It’s a story filled with family and friendship drama, road trip adventures, and a satisfying ending. The narrator is 6th grader Cassie, and her point of view gives the conflict in this story a fresh perspective. The plot revolves around a family that is forced to adjust when a big change comes their way: Cassie’s older sister, Julia, is pregnant, and she decides that she will raise the baby. From this perspective, we get a sense of how change for one member of a family truly impacts that family as a whole. Suzanne LaFleur crafts her story with a combination of present day happenings and flashbacks, giving us a picture of the sisters’ relationship before and after this change. I loved that this story was a genuine reflection of what a complex sister and sibling relationship is like. It’s a delicate balance between admiration, competition, jealousy, and love. Also, I liked that the main character was a competitive swimmer, which is not a sport that is commonly represented in fiction! I am looking forward to adding this book to my middle school library.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Twelve-year-old Cassie is an avid swimmer and proud little sister of her older sister Julia, a senior in high school, until something unexpected occurs. Instead of preparing for college next year, Julia finds herself with a new baby Addie. Being close all of their lives, this surprise gravely effects Cassie as well. Frustrated with the new life Julia finds herself in, she decides to leave home, and even invites her little sister Cassie along. With mixed feelings Cassie joins Julia and her new ba Twelve-year-old Cassie is an avid swimmer and proud little sister of her older sister Julia, a senior in high school, until something unexpected occurs. Instead of preparing for college next year, Julia finds herself with a new baby Addie. Being close all of their lives, this surprise gravely effects Cassie as well. Frustrated with the new life Julia finds herself in, she decides to leave home, and even invites her little sister Cassie along. With mixed feelings Cassie joins Julia and her new baby Addie in her adventure to discover the best days of her life. This is beautifully told from Cassie's point of view with lots of flash backs to all of the happy years she's shared with her sister before the new baby. She's also a talented swimmer and enjoys the team spirit while navigating the friendship dramas along the way. This is a convincing story that rings true, about subjects rarely covered in books for young readers, teen pregnancies, and swimming stories. Both are expertly handled though the eyes of young sensitive Cassie. Although I loved this story, as an elementary school librarian I think the kids would love it, but middle school readers will better understand the scope of how dramatically Julia's new baby impacts this loving strong family.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Thanks to Kid Lit Exchange and the publisher for the free review copy of this book! All opinions are my own. If you’re looking for a book about sisterhood in the face of change, this book is for you! Cassie and Julia used to be more than just sisters - they were best friends. But now, Julia has a baby, and their family’s dynamic has changed entirely. Their whole world focused on Julia’s daughter Addie. It’s almost as if Cassie doesn’t exist. Then, when Julia leaves in the middle of the night, Cas Thanks to Kid Lit Exchange and the publisher for the free review copy of this book! All opinions are my own. If you’re looking for a book about sisterhood in the face of change, this book is for you! Cassie and Julia used to be more than just sisters - they were best friends. But now, Julia has a baby, and their family’s dynamic has changed entirely. Their whole world focused on Julia’s daughter Addie. It’s almost as if Cassie doesn’t exist. Then, when Julia leaves in the middle of the night, Cassie sneaks out with her. In a gorgeous tale of discovery, Suzanne LaFleur weaves flashbacks with the present, leaving both the reader and characters to figure out how to bridge the ever-growing gap between the sisters, and the road trip they embark upon together. More than anything, this is a story about being heard, and being able to be loved for your true self, not the person someone else wants you to be. Such an adorable tale of sisterly love! An added bonus, some flashbacks speak to Julia’s experience as a pregnant senior in high school with a supportive family, which is awesome for readers who have experienced similar circumstances. Excellent story for an upper-middle audience and above.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Cassie's life has been upended by teen pregnancy. Not her own--her big sister's. Julia, now 18, lives at home, has managed to graduate high school (a herculean effort by everyone in the family), and her daughter, Addie, is beloved by all. But no one is happy. Julia feels squashed by parenting and being parented at every moment. Cassie feels invisible. So the two sisters take the baby and run away on an adventure to find themselves and come to terms with their own crumbling relationship. This run Cassie's life has been upended by teen pregnancy. Not her own--her big sister's. Julia, now 18, lives at home, has managed to graduate high school (a herculean effort by everyone in the family), and her daughter, Addie, is beloved by all. But no one is happy. Julia feels squashed by parenting and being parented at every moment. Cassie feels invisible. So the two sisters take the baby and run away on an adventure to find themselves and come to terms with their own crumbling relationship. This runaway sequence stretches credulity, but it wraps in technology that readers will understand--and that helps to explain Cassie's parents' response. In many ways, this is a "make lemonade" story. Cassie and Julia's family makes the best of a difficult situation. They're a loving, supportive family. The baby's father is still in the picture. Everyone is trying so hard to keep going day after day. But there are a lot of lemons to squeeze: friends whose parents won't let them visit anymore, missed swim meets, missed practices, missed classes, missed everything. This is a sensitive, generous, tween-centric look at a tough topic that usually stays in the teen sphere.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kimberlee

    Cassie feels invisible. Since her sister got pregnant at the age of 17 everything has been about Julia and Addie. Nothing is the same for anyone. But one day Julia asks to borrow all of Cassie's life savings. Cassie finds herself on a trip with her sister and niece, no real destination in sight. They've run away from home. Can a little time to themselves rebuild their relationship or will they just be grounded forever when they get home? Counting to Perfect didn't hit it out of the park for me. T Cassie feels invisible. Since her sister got pregnant at the age of 17 everything has been about Julia and Addie. Nothing is the same for anyone. But one day Julia asks to borrow all of Cassie's life savings. Cassie finds herself on a trip with her sister and niece, no real destination in sight. They've run away from home. Can a little time to themselves rebuild their relationship or will they just be grounded forever when they get home? Counting to Perfect didn't hit it out of the park for me. The story was quick and short, so the characters weren't terribly fleshed out and the plot barely even happened. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't very memorable either. I do think it has a few things going for it. I like that the book talked about what a family goes through in response to a teen pregnancy. I just wish that there had been a little more depth put into everything. 3/5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Heartwarming story about family and finding our place in it. Cassie, the 11 year old narrator, is a competitive swimmer with some long time friends. She has an older sister Julia whom she looks up to and spends a lot of time with. All of that changed when Julia gave birth to Addie last year. Since then, Cassie has felt invisible. Her parents lives revolve around Julia, Addie and their needs. They are no longer spectators at Cassie's meets and they haven't even noticed that her friends have not co Heartwarming story about family and finding our place in it. Cassie, the 11 year old narrator, is a competitive swimmer with some long time friends. She has an older sister Julia whom she looks up to and spends a lot of time with. All of that changed when Julia gave birth to Addie last year. Since then, Cassie has felt invisible. Her parents lives revolve around Julia, Addie and their needs. They are no longer spectators at Cassie's meets and they haven't even noticed that her friends have not come by in quite awhile. One evening, Julia decides to run away with Addie, and life for Cassie changes. She slowly learns to speak up for herself. She also figures out how to fix her relationship with Julia. A quick read that will appeal to many students. A bit too old for my library - but would make a great middle school and up novel. DRC from Edelweiss and

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Thank you to netgalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Overall it wasn't a bad book, and it had a decent representation of dealing with a teenage pregnancy, and a child kind of fading to the background. There were some unrealistic aspects. As a mother, I would personally never allow my teenage daughter, her kid, and my 12 year old to continue to run off together once I found out where they were. Especially the 12 year old. I know that the parents are tracking t Thank you to netgalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Overall it wasn't a bad book, and it had a decent representation of dealing with a teenage pregnancy, and a child kind of fading to the background. There were some unrealistic aspects. As a mother, I would personally never allow my teenage daughter, her kid, and my 12 year old to continue to run off together once I found out where they were. Especially the 12 year old. I know that the parents are tracking them, and they aren't in any real danger; but just the possibility of trouble would worry me too much. Parts of it are a bit slow; although its only 200 pages so its not much of a slog, and reading through a 12 year olds perspective can grind your nerves at times. A nice story in the end though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I think this book took a fresh perspective on a topic that is not explored in children's literature. I think young adolescents can relate to the way Cassie is feeling with her sister's situation whether or not they are experiencing the same thing. Most of this age feel ignored and left out. I appreciate the author taking on this topic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Loved this book about sisters, family, friends, and life choices.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aniya

  22. 4 out of 5

    Trish

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle S

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Love the cover. We will see if I ever have a chance to get to this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fm Shipp

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aeicha

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura Phelps

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scoutaccount

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mackenze Tezak

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