In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.
“Holly Goldberg Sloan writes about belonging in a way I’ve never quite seen in any other book. This is a gorgeous, funny, and heartwarming novel that I’ll never forget.”—John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back
“Willow Chance subtly drew me into her head and her life, so much so that I was holding my breath for her by the end. Holly Goldberg Sloan has created distinct characters who will stay with you long after you finish the book.”—Sharon Creech, Newbery Award-winning author of Walk Two Moons
“In achingly beautiful prose, Holly Goldberg Sloan has written a delightful tale of transformation that’s a celebration of life in all its wondrous, hilarious and confounding glory. Counting by 7s is a triumph.”—Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent a peripatetic childhood (following her Professor father and architect mother) living in California, The Netherlands, Istanbul, Turkey (where she went to high school), Washington D.C. and Oregon.
She attended college at Wellesley in Massachusetts (with her junior year of study done at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire). After graduating, Holly went to New York City and took a job at Grey Advertising answering phones and writing at night and on weekends (and when no one was paying attention to what she was doing at work).
A year later she had moved to Los Angeles where she sold her first screenplay at the age of twenty-four to Paramount Pictures. Holly continued to write, but supported herself for the next ten years by working in commercial advertising as a production assistant, then a script supervisor, a producer, and finally as a commercial director.
The year 1982 was a big year for Holly, because that was also when she got married to Chuck Sloan. They were married for ten years, and had two sons. While their marriage didn't work out, their friendship did. Holly is certain that none of the things that she has achieved would have been possible without his support.
Holly has written eight successful family feature films, three for the Walt Disney Company, including the baseball classic Angels in the Outfield, and the soccer movie, The Big Green, which she also directed (filmed in Austin, Texas). She also wrote the Universal Pictures comedy Made in America starring Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson and Will Smith, and the late Steve Irwin’s feature film for MGM: Collision Course: The Crocodile Hunter Movie.
Holly wrote and directed the children’s film Heidi 4 Paws where she put dogs in costumes in all of the roles of the famous children’s story. This film used the voice talent of Angela Lansbury, Stephen Rea, Richard Kind, Majandra Delfino, and Julian Sands and recently aired on Public Television in the United States and Canada.
The mother of two sons, Holly lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, writer Gary Rosen. She is a sports fan, loves to cook (she is a contributing editor for Amy Ephron’s food blog, ONE FOR THE TABLE), and she has never met a dog she didn’t find captivating.
Holly considers her book I'll Be There to be the most rewarding thing she's ever done in her work life. She believes a perfect day to be one where she writes in the morning, takes a long walk by the Pacific Ocean in the afternoon, and she spends the evening with her family and friends around her large dining room table.
She likes to fall asleep reading a good book.