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Children's Fiction Values & Virtues

Counting Back from Nine

by (author) Valerie Sherrard

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Oct 2012
Values & Virtues, Parents, Death & Dying
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2014
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 16
  • Grade: 8 to 11


"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."
Highly Recommended.
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

About the author

Valerie Sherrard first decided to become an author when she was in grade six! Her homeroom teacher that year, Mr. Alf Lower, praised and encouraged her efforts and instilled in her a lifelong belief in her ability to write. After producing about a dozen books for teens, Sherrard turned her hand to picture books. There’s a COW Under My Bed! introduces Oscar Ollie Brown, who will be embarking on his second adventure in There’s a Goldfish in my Shoe! in the fall of 2009. Since becoming a published author, Sherrard has enjoyed visiting many classrooms and libraries to speak to young people about writing, literacy, and most of all, finding and following your dreams. Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Valerie has spent time in a number of provinces, including her current home of New Brunswick. She lives in Miramichi with her husband Brent and their four cats: Lilly, Thragg, Patootie and Cody.

Valerie Sherrard's profile page

Other titles by Valerie Sherrard

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