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Counting Thyme book cover

Counting Thyme, by Melanie Conklin; G.P. Putnam’s
Sons Books for Young Readers: New York, 2016;

When I’m picking out books to read, I usually try to avoid the sad ones. Counting Thyme is definitely ranked amongst the saddest books I’ve ever read, and yet it lies with my favorites. How? Maybe it’s because the underlying theme of hope even through sadness with hints of humor scattered throughout gives it a unique touch like no other book I’ve read. Maybe it’s because this book does not avoid stunning reality, like others do. All I am sure of is that I would and will choose to read Counting Thyme again and again, and each time I will enjoy it as much as I did the first time.

I am willing to do anything for my brother. That’s what Thyme thinks. Her little brother, Val, has cancer, and she’s ready to do whatever it takes to help him. And wait—there’s a chance to cure Val, and it’s a special test in New York. Thyme’s family. temporarily moves to an apartment in New York, because this new treatment opens too many opportunities to ignore. People who have siblings, like I do, can relate to the struggle she went through between doing what was best for her brother and doing what she truly wanted.

Of course, Thyme is very happy for Val, but… moving. Away from her friends, and her house, and everything that she can call home. In my whole life, I have never moved. However, I have had friends that have moved far away, and so I understand having a best friend move away and can only imagine how much worse it would be to lose all your friends. The first week, you start out thinking that you can always keep in touch and call each other or email each other. But you just start drifting farther and farther away—not physically, but emotionally. And within the third week, it is all but a dream. Sure—you might email sometimes, but, as Thyme finds out, there’s a big difference between actually talking to someone, and hanging out with them, and just communicating electronically.

Speaking of friends, Thyme isn’t especially eager to have her cool, popular new classmates see Val bald and in a stroller at five years old. They might think he’s odd, and weird, and if they start thinking that about Val, they’ll start thinking it about Thyme, too. I know that people in school can be mean and judgmental. People are always looking at what you’re wearing and don’t necessarily think before they speak. Luckily, busy with her best friend in her old school, Thyme hadn’t noticed school drama. But in her new school, she is tossed into the middle of a lot of drama.

Did I mention that the move was temporary? So why is Thyme’s old best friend reporting a “for sale” sign at Thyme’s old house? Thyme’s parents never said anything about selling their house. Thyme never even thought about it. This move was supposed to be temporary—only temporary. So are Thyme’s parents hiding something fishy, or is her best friend wrong? I would be outraged and hurt if my parents told me that a move was temporary—and then sold our old home. Hopefully, Thyme can get to the bottom of this and figure out what’s really going on!

Thyme finds out what “home” really means to her in this touching and unique, tear-encouraging book. Along the way, she might make some unexpected friends!

Counting Thyme Samantha Abrishami
Samantha Abrishami, 11
McLean, Virginia