"Stewart lets the story do the talking in a world populated by fabulous supporting characters and full of surprises. Counting Wolves is an engaging read for teens and adults alike," Wesley King, author of the Silver Birch Award winner OCDaniel.
"At its core, Stewart’s memorably inventive novel destigmatizes mental illness and sends a message that seeking help can make life better.
A deeply affecting, hard-to-put-down work that depicts a girl’s dark odyssey through obsession toward healing insight." Kirkus Reviews
"This fast-paced deconstruction of mental illness, reminiscent of Neal Shusterman's Challenger Deep, takes a hard look at the stigma of mental illness. The prose here is superb. It is quick, sharp, and easy to read—and it keeps readers turning pages." The BookLife Prize.
"This book was NOTHING like I expected and it will stay with me for as long as I live. I loved every single one of the characters. Which I can confess is very very very rare. The writing was so amazing and so smooth it was like silk. I am so in love with this book and so so so happy I was able to read it. **In addition, I have read a LOT of books involving all kinds of mental illnesses... and this one is the best one I have every read, hands down." Ash D
"Just fabulously done. 5/5 stars." Katia C
“This was a beautifully written story of fear, anxiety, false perceptions, friendship, grief, love, and triumph. It was such a good book.” Annie C
"This is a fairy tale, with evil stepmothers who are not what they seem, and a girl lost in the deep dark woods. But this is no ordinary fairy tale; when Milly is admitted to a psychiatric unit of a local hospital for her obsessions, will the wolf finally eat her alive, or will she triumph? This is an amazing story about mental illness, triumphs and heartbreaks, and the power of everlasting love." Chrystal V
"An amazing story that keeps you wondering a) is the wolf real?, b) is Milly just suffering from the effects of losing her mom and having to deal with her father's new wife?) or c) does she really have mental problems beyond severe OCD that only the medical community can address? This had me guessing until the very end. The characters are well developed and so believable! I loved how Milly finds her answers, especially who is "good" in her life. I really enjoyed this one!" Jo H
In this latest novel by a prolific author of YA fiction, a teenager's life spirals out of control as she desperately attempts to evade the savage manifestation of her fear. Not even high school is safe for Milly Malone, a 15-year-old who must engage in a never-ending battle to keep an evil wolf at bay using her only magic spell. Before she passes by or through a door, takes a bite of food, or speaks, she must count to 100 to stay "on safety's slender path," or the wolf of the Dark Wood will wreak havoc. But Milly's spell is weakening, and when she trips before finishing a count, the Dark Wood engulfs her. This deeply observant and empathic tale isn't spinning readers into a realm of the supernatural. Stewart (Keep in a Cold, Dark Place, 2017, etc), author of fiction and nonfiction for children, teens, and adults, instead weaves threads of unsettling fairy tales into something achingly real: the first-person narrative of a young girl's crippling descent into obsessive thinking. After her collapse, Milly is followed by her wolf to a pediatric psychiatry ward. It prowls through her therapy sessions, daily routines, and interactions with the other memorably drawn, authentic, and ethnically and racially diverse teen patients. Milly views her life and those around her through a prism of fairy tales (a tie to her dead mother), and Stewart punctuates the gritty, funny, heart-wrenching narrative with a reshaping of more obscure and unsettling stories by the Brothers Grimm. The wolf's hot breath and claws feel as real to readers as they do to Milly, but who, or what, is the wolf? The barrier to Milly's recovery finally crumbles with her realization of the beast's real-world identity, a disturbing insight bringing hope in its wake. The author doesn't sugarcoat Milly's hospital environment. Unpleasant encounters, challenges, and setbacks for both the young patients and staff ring true, as do the breakthroughs, humor, and evolving relationships. At its core, Stewart's memorably inventive novel destigmatizes mental illness and sends a message that seeking help can make life better. A deeply affecting, hard-to-put-down work that depicts a girl's dark odyssey through obsession toward healing insight.