Count Me In

( 2 )

Overview

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 ...
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Count Me In

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Tacoma Public School District
"Girls will especially like the strong female characters...The author creates believable characters, exciting situations and interesting conflicts."
CM Magazine
"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."
Resource Links
"This fish-out-of-water story will appeal to both urban and outdoorsy readers."
Children's Literature - Stephanie R. Pearmain
Tabitha is not happy when her parents send her on what is supposed to be a short camping trip over the Thanksgiving weekend with her aunt Tess and cousins Ashley and Cedar. Tabitha's Uncle Bruce died 15 months earlier and the family was bringing his ashes to spread at Lake Lovely Water, where they had camped every year. Ashley is quite vocal about not wanting Tabitha around and Cedar does his share of picking on his younger cousin. Tabitha is already sensitive because the school year has been tough for her. All the other girls her age seem to have grown up over the summer. They have returned with fuller figures, cooler clothes, and makeup, while Tabitha has her same old running shoes, an unchanged body, and no sense for makeup. She is teased and shunned at school and feels helpless amidst her peers. Things get worse in the mountains when fog and rain settle in. Then, while showing off, Ashley slips, slamming her cheek into the rock. She softens when Tabitha announces she won't tell Tess that Ashley was not being safe. However, when they get back to the cabin, Tabitha is shocked and angered when Ashley says she fell because of Tabitha. More stormy weather sets in, stranding them in the cabin because the waters are too dangerous to cross. To top things off, Tabitha loses the dog while on a walk and a bear makes his way into their cabin, helping himself to most of their rations. In the end, Tabitha gains confidence and achieves success in the wilderness. The story is interesting and well-paced. There is good tension in the struggles the family endures. Tabitha is a bit difficult to empathize with as her endearing qualities remain hidden for quite some time. In the beginning, her character feels whiny and pathetic more so than the average underdog, but it is nice to see her come into her own by the end. Reviewer: Stephanie R. Pearmain
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—After having difficulties at school, Tabitha is sent on a hiking trip with her aunt and two cousins to spread her uncle's ashes. The trip gets off to a bad start, as her cousins seem to hate her. When Ashley breaks her jaw while showing off, the group tries to head back down the mountain. The river, however, has risen well above a crossable level and the group finds itself stranded with little food, the tension among the three cousins rising, and a storm that seems to go on forever. To make matters worse, a bear attacks and takes all of the food, and the family's dog, Max, goes missing. At this point, Tabitha's cousins quit speaking to her. Can she survive the storm and their wrath? Will she ever be able to find Max? Will they ever escape? 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.—Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT
Kirkus Reviews

When 12-year-old Tabitha is forced by her parents to go backpacking with her two cousins and recently widowed Aunt Tess, she ends up with more of an adventure than any of them planned.

Both of Tabitha's somewhat older cousins, Cedar and Ashley, are confident, experienced hikers, but nothing can fully prepare them for the series of misadventures that occurs after they climb to a mountaintop hut in British Columbia. Rain falls relentlessly. The dog, Max, wanders off when Tabitha is walking him. Ashley, even after she's badly injured in a careless fall, uses every opportunity to express her hatred—never fully explained—for Tabitha, including deceitfully blaming her for the accident. After their attempt to hike out is thwarted by a flooded river, they begin to have problems with a very persistent bear, leading to many more issues. As the problems mount, Tabitha bravely responds, believably moving from her earlier self-pity to more appropriate responses, even coming to recognize that what she's learning may help her with bullying problems she's been having at school. The setting is well realized, and theauthentic action sustains interest. If some of the dynamics between the characters are insufficiently developed, and a somewhat improbable conclusion seems forced, the suspense helps mitigate the issues.

A tautadventure tale that features plenty of action and some troubled relationships. (Adventure. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554694044
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,447,114
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Leach is a writer and teacher-librarian in Whistler, British Columbia. She loves hiking the nearby alpine trails with her husband and two children. Fortunately, they have never been stranded in any mountain huts, although they have endured many rainy days. For more information, visit www.saraleach.com..
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Read an Excerpt

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is funny, adventurous, and heartwarming. It makes you

    This book is funny, adventurous, and heartwarming. It makes you stop and think. Girls and boys alike would like this book. It's very well written and the story is well developed. I highly recommend this book!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Tabitha is not happy to be spending the summer with her cousins,

    Tabitha is not happy to be spending the summer with her cousins, Ashley and Cedar, and her Aunt Tess in the wilderness of British Columbia. The hiking trip is meant as a getaway to spread Uncle Bruce's ashes on a mountain he loved. The siblings seems to hate Tabitha and they are both much more adept at roughing it than she is. After a bear steals their food, the four hikers try to make it back to civilization but rough weather forces them to return to the small cabin. Aunt Tess and Ashley are seriously injured so it's up to Tabitha and Cedar to keep level heads and try to figure a way out of their predicament. This adventure story will appeal to both girls and boys, particularly those with an interest in the outdoors. The vocabulary is appropriate to those reading a bit below grade level.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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