Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso

Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 279
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Three weeks ago I tried to run away from home. Now all I want is to go back.

When troubled Taylor Truwell is caught with a stolen car and lands in court for resisting arrest, her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, her therapist, and vicious fellow patients. But even as Taylor struggles to hold on to her stubborn former self, she finds herself relenting as she lets in two unlikely friends-Margo, a former child star and arsonist, and AJ, a mysterious boy who doesn’t speak. In this striking debut, Laura Lascarso weaves together a powerful story of anger and self-destruction, hope and love.


Taylor Truell keeps running away. She wants to get away from her mother’s neglect, her father’s strict rules, and most likely, from the panic and anger she can’t understand. Enrolled in the psychiatric facility called Sunny Meadows for stealing a car and resisting arrest, she pushes against improvement as much as she can to run away from the notion that she might be crazy.

The novel’s idea of running away from problems in a fit of denial is common in young adult literature, but in Counting Backwards, Laura Lascarso goes the extra mile by giving Taylor time to face her fears and gradually help herself. Taylor is the kind of girl who pushes the rules, stands up to bullies, and befriends ex-child celebrities and strange and silent hot guys. With the aid of a therapist, supportive friends and a budding vegetable garden, Taylor begins to see her life in a new light. Though it does take time for Taylor to come around, she learns to think outside herself and reason from where her anger really stems.

Counting Backwards, is a debut from author Laura Lascarso unlike any other. Its troubled youths and delinquents will inspire laughter or sympathy from readers, but above all become their next favorite read!


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