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Count Me In
By author: Sara Leach
Selling Points: "Cousins, grief, hiking, danger, confidence "
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Sep/01/2011
Pages: 176
Fiction Ages 9-12
Price:  $9.95
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Ashley pushed her on the next large rock and almost knocked her over. As her cousin leaped from rock to rock, Tabitha tried to follow but wasn't as sure of herself, especially on the slippery surfaces of the boulders.

"It's not a race," she said.

Ashley spun around on one foot and said in a sing-song voice, "Is the wittle baby getting tired?"

Before Tabitha could respond, Ashley spun back and jumped for the next rock. As she did, her back foot slipped out from under her. Her body landed flat across two rocks, and her cheek whacked the stone.

Tabitha winced.

Ashley lay still.

Twelve-year-old Tabitha is less than thrilled when her parents send her on a hiking trip with her cousins, Ashley and Cedar, and her Aunt Tess. For one thing, she's not much of a hiker. And she's pretty sure her cousins hate her. But even Ashley can't blame Tabitha for everything that goes wrong: the weather turns ugly, a bear comes into the cabin, Ashley and Tess are injured and Max, the family's beloved dog, disappears. When rescue finally arrives, Tabitha realizes that she is no longer the timid, out-of-shape girl she used to be. She's become strong, resourceful and brave in the face of adversity—no matter what form it takes.
Tacoma Public School District - July 6, 2014
"Girls will especially like the strong female characters...The author creates believable characters, exciting situations and interesting conflicts."
CM Magazine - December 16, 2011
"A gripping story for young readers, and it is impressive that, in a short book with accessible language, she has managed to capture suspense, realism, and an empathetic protagonist. The narrative unfolds at a mesmerizing pace, and the plot propels itself forward so that each page turn brings a new twist in the story. Perhaps the most captivating element of Count Me In lies in its realism. Both in the description of the physical landscape and the relationship between Tabitha and each of her family members, Leach has written a novel that is easy to visualize and understand...Count Me In succeeds in every way. It is difficult to write a suspenseful story in clear language for young readers, but Leach has surmounted the obstacle, and the result is a story that is touching and powerful. Young readers (and older story lovers, too) will find this book too good to put down. Highly Recommended."
School Library Journal - November 1, 2011
"The characters and their motivations are well developed. The plot is simple, but entertaining, and the survival aspects of the story are realistic and suspenseful. Chapter transitions are smooth and easy to follow. Fans, including reluctant readers, of Gary Paulsen, Will Hobbs, and other writers of survival fiction will enjoy this book."
Resource Links - October 1, 2011
"This fish-out-of-water story will appeal to both urban and outdoorsy readers."
Kirkus Reviews - August 1, 2011
"The setting is well realized, and the authentic action sustains interest...A taut adventure tale that features plenty of action and some troubled relationships."


Red Cedar Book Award, winner  CA  2012
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2012

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Middle Reader Fiction

Compelling fiction
for at-level readers

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Compelling stories
Age-appropriate plots

Teaching Resources:
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