Counting Back From NineBook - 2013
Forest of Reading's Red Maple-Fiction 2014 nominee
Ontario Library Association Best Bets List 2013 Honourable mention
"There are rules for what I've done. Specific punishments for crimes against friendship."
Laren Olivier knows the rules, but her attraction to a friend's ex-boyfriend is strong. She tells herself that if she and Scott can keep their new romance a secret, no one will get hurt. But Laren is not the only one with something to hide.
Thus begins a year-long journey through secrets, lies, exposures and betrayals. Somehow, Laren must find a way to reconcile who she is with what she's done. And when tragedy strikes, she finds herself struggling with a discovery so shocking it rocks the very foundation of her world.
A novel in free verse by award-winning author Valerie Sherrard.
" Counting Back from Nine is a powerful young adult novel. It's not just another story of a high school romance that fails; it's about the tensions (and joys) of family relationships, the impact of losing a parent at a formative point in one's emotional development, and the social fall-out resulting when a girl knowingly breaks the unspoken rules of high school female friendships and finds herself "un-friended".
"Anyone who has read Valerie Sherrard's other works knows that she is expert at capturing the nuances of adolescent conversation. In Counting Back from Nine , the voices of Laren and her mother are strong and distinct.
"The novel is written in free verse, and not only does the poetry capture the rhythms of speech more effectively, but the visual impact of the free verse adds another powerful dimension. And, somehow, the nastiness of which teen-age girls are especially capable, is even meaner when rendered in poetry... While the novel certainly isn't "chick lit", this is a book which will be read and enjoyed primarily by a female audience. Guys just aren't going to pick up a book with a cover featuring photo vignettes of a younger and older girl, surrounded by abstract bubbles. It's a shame, because Counting Back from Nine is an excellent novel."
-- CM Magazine
"The language is stark but poetic, and the free verse format perfectly suits the story. Sherrard's characters are written with compassion, and a keen understanding of how teenagers think and feel. Laren's voice feels authentic and emotionally true, and readers will empathize with her feelings of isolation and grief.
" Counting Back from Nine is poignant and emotionally resonant, and teens will be wholly engaged from the first page to the last."
-- Canadian Children Booknews