Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso

Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso

Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

I had been itching to start this one the moment I got home from vacation, and finally having to for the blog tour, I managed to read this in two sittings: before going to sleep and the first thing I did when I woke up. It was seriously that good. Counting Backwards is exactly what it says it is: an enrapturing novel about Taylor's challenge to find herself, love and come to terms with the people who surround her. Laura Lascarso's writing is beautiful, yet uncomplicated and easy to go with the flow, and this book, even though it's roughly 290 pages, it's surprisingly a quick read. I mean, perhaps that was just me being enthralled by this novel, but I was so into it I didn't seem to think it took that long at all. Now, I really wish I'd slowed myself down, because I want more!

I loved the characters, I think Lascarso had built them up extremely well. They're obviously not perfect, as all the characters (other than Taylor's parents) are at Sunny Meadows a treatment boarding school facility. However, like all books surrounding rehab, abuse, etc. you really can get attached to the characters.

Taylor was an compelling character. She was amusing at times with her smart comebacks and her crazy plans to run away, but other than that she's either angry or trying to figure out the means to get out of the facility. I loved her determination. I really enjoyed reading about her fight to accept her fears, her parents and herself. It was an emotional ride at times, and really sucks you into it, allowing you to feel how Taylor does at times. You will really get attached to her, I promise you.
There always has to be that boy, doesn't there? This one is slightly more interesting– he doesn't speak. It's not that he can't speak, it's just that he doesn't want to. A.J. was, to be honest, my favorite character (Taylor comes second). His life's so complicated, yet he wants to make things right, and he's just so sweet! You can't really help but feel a pang in your heart for him. Loved him. LOVED. HIM.

All the other characters were fabulous as well. Margo was amazing– that totally sassy girl with an attitude that you just adore. The Latina Queens were, to be frank, bitchy, but it was interesting to see another obstacle come up in Taylor's life. Dr. Deb at first kind of annoyed me, being the typical therapist, but then over time, you really do warm up to her. This cast of characters worked really well together, from screaming Charlotte to the over-dramatic McKenzie.

Counting Backwards is one book which I'll be sure to recommend to everyone– it's an extraordinary contemporary. It's got its own special sauce and I'm sure it'll stay with me for a while. Lascarso's debut will be sure to make many readers fall in love with it, as I have. Can't wait for more from her– I'll be eagerly waiting.

**Thank you so much to Laura Lascarso for allowing me to be apart of the blog tour and Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) for sending me Counting Backwards for review!**

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