Counting by 7s - Chapters 25 - 28 Summary & Analysis

Holly Goldberg Sloan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 71 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Counting by 7s.
This section contains 834 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Summary

In Chapter 25, Dell gets a call requesting he come to Jamison Children’s Center as they believed he could be helpful in finding Willow. He drives past Willow’s house first, but only sees the flowers, banner, candles and beer bottles that have been left in the yard. He thinks it looks like the remnants of a bad party. At Jamison, the authorities suspect foul play may be involved in Willow’s disappearance, but Dell doesn’t agree. He thinks about what a hero he’d be if he were to find Willow. Making his decision, he drives to Mai’s school.

In Chapter 26, Willow wishes she could live in the library as books have always brought her comfort, a state she feels no longer exists for her. She looks for books dedicated to those who have lost a parent but is unable to find anything. She writes her desire for books on loss of a parent on a slip of paper she finds and puts it in the library’s suggestion box. Up on the second floor of the library she crawls behind a chair and goes to sleep.

In Chapter 27, Mai turns the tables on Dell when she tells him that he must check her out of school so she can go look for Willow. He’d expected just to get some hints from her and find the girl himself.

In Chapter 28, Willow wakes up when Mai pokes her with her shoe. She and Mai ride in the backseat of Dell’s car. He plans to take the girls back to Jamison but Mai makes him take them to a restaurant first. Next, Mai learns that Dell has a two-bedroom apartment. She talks to her mother in Vietnamese on Dell’s cell phone. Mai has ordered food for her family. Dell doesn’t look happy when he’s called to pay for it.

Back at Jamison, Willow thinks people in the other rooms are talking about her. She can see Mai, Pattie and Dell outside in the parking lot. Mai tells her mother that if they don’t take care of Willow and put down Dell’s address as their own, Willow will have to stay at Jamison. The decision is made to let Willow stay with the Nguyens temporarily. She must go to Jamison once a week and continue to see Dell. Additionally, Dell has agreed to oversee her homeschooling. Later that night, Pattie tells Willow she will stay with them until a good place for her is found.

Analysis

Thinking he’d be a hero if he were to find Willow, Dell seeks out help from Mai, only to find the tables quickly turned on him. Although he’d been backed against the wall before by Mai when she stood up for her older brother, he is still surprised when she takes charge of the situation with Willow. He’d intended for the girl to give him a few suggestions as to where she thought Willow might be so he could get credit for finding her. Instead, the intelligent Mai not only quickly locates Willow, she also works a free dinner for herself and her family out of Dell, and learns that Dell lives in a two-bedroom apartment. Mai spends a good deal of time talking to her mother on the phone in Vietnamese after she learns about Dell’s apartment. The two strong women rope Dell into allowing them to put down his address as their own so they can show they have an adequate place to keep Willow until a permanent home for her is found.

The story of Willow’s journey through her grief continues as she searches the library for information about the loss of a parent. She’s particularly interested in finding something written for her own age group. She’s not able to find what she’s looking for, however, and in typical Willow fashion, submits a complaint to the library for not having anything on this topic. Notice that even as Willow searches for answers about her parents death and her own feelings, she reports she is having trouble concentrating, one of the typical hallmarks of grief, but one that must be particularly troubling to Willow as she does rely so much on her ability to think and concentrate.

Discussion Question 1

Consider the dynamic between Dell and Mai. Do you find it interesting that a grown man allows himself to be pushed around so easily by a teenaged girl? How do their interactions with each other reinforce the other’s personality?

Discussion Question 2

Why do Mai and her mother convince Dell to allow them to put down his address as their home address? Why can they not use their own address?

Discussion Question 3

How do you think that Mai knew to look for Willow at the library? Use examples from the book to support your answer.

Vocabulary

viable, empirical, crypsis, hydrolysis, metaphorically, intuitively, fixate, provisional, carcinogenic

This section contains 834 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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