Counting Thyme
When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

Counting Thyme Details

TitleCounting Thyme
Author
ReleaseApr 12th, 2016
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780399173301
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Contemporary, Fiction

Counting Thyme Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    four stars for me-as-reader, five stars for its intended audience.this is certainly the year of middle grade for me! and i'm learning that there's a lot out there in this formerly-unexplored-by-me section of the publishing world that i genuinely enjoy, despite being such an old, old grouch.this is a completely winsome book that perfectly captures the feeling of being an eleven-year-old girl trying to navigate her changing family dynamic and find her own place in the larger world.when her five-ye four stars for me-as-reader, five stars for its intended audience.this is certainly the year of middle grade for me! and i'm learning that there's a lot out there in this formerly-unexplored-by-me section of the publishing world that i genuinely enjoy, despite being such an old, old grouch.this is a completely winsome book that perfectly captures the feeling of being an eleven-year-old girl trying to navigate her changing family dynamic and find her own place in the larger world.when her five-year-old brother val qualifies to be in a cancer drug trial in new york for his neuroblastoma and her entire family moves three thousand miles away for what is supposed to be a three-month period, thyme sees this temporary relocation as just one more necessary consequence of val's illness, which has already caused upheaval to her life and her stability. her parents have had less time to spend with her and her older sister cori, they've all transitioned to healthier eating habits, and they have readjusted their schedules to revolve around val's appointments and fluctuating energies. thyme submits to all these changes without complaint because she is a good girl, she loves her family, and val is a particularly sweet little kid; holding up under his own stress and pain with stoicism and unflagging good cheer. despite her willingness to help the family and be supportive, the move makes thyme a little anxious because she is leaving behind her beloved grandmother, her school, and her best friend shani, and will be spending thanksgiving and christmas in a new place with a very un-californian climate. but she can endure all of this as long as they make it back to sunny san diego by march as promised, where she and shani will celebrate their birthdays together, as they have always done. thyme's parents have tried to make things less disruptive for their children with thoughtful gestures and rituals to make up for their divided attentions. thyme, for example, has been given a large glass jar called "the thyme jar," and whenever she has been helpful and uncomplaining around the house, she is given a slip of paper with a unit of time written on it to put in the jar; time that can be cashed in for thyme-time - where she is allowed to do whatever she wants, as long as it fits in with the rest of the family's schedule. because of the time difference, thyme is frequently unable to talk to shani on the phone and she feels increasingly unmoored and homesick, but she keeps earning her slips of paper without spending any of it, because she has a plan: as soon as she has enough time saved up, she is going to spend it all at once on a trip back home. the move is a huge adjustment - new york is cold and dirty and confusing, she's scared of the subways, and her new classmates seem much more adult and sophisticated than the kids back home with their drivers and sushi for lunch. other new acquaintances include a grouchy old neighbor named mr lipinsky, with his noise complaints and pet cockatoo, and mrs ravelli, who is helping out around the house while thyme's parents are at the hospital with val. as the trial goes on and thyme is left to her own devices, she worries about val's response to the drugs and tries to be dutiful (gotta earn that time!), but she also begins to worry that they might not make it home for her birthday after all. it is during times of change and stress that a person's true character really comes out, and thyme is a remarkable character. she is both sympathetic and empathetic, she stands up for others and makes her own decisions; trying new things and making new friends and experiencing her first crush. she's a peacemaker with good manners who is resourceful and acknowledges her fears and knows her own limits. but she's not some perfect little girl that you wanna roll your eyes at - she's just a girl that has been raised right with strong family values who is willing to be helpful and patient because she knows how important this drug trial could be for val. she's very frustrated when her parents try to keep difficult truths from her, but she also doesn't want to burden them with constant questions. over the course of the novel, we see the shift in thyme's priorities, as she grows up and grows more confident and re-evaluates what is the most important thing in her life - what's worth sacrificing her own desires for. it's heartwarming without ever being gooey, which is a big deal for me. i hate goo, but i really loved this family. yeah, it's a funny and sweet story, but there's also some harrowing bits and overall it just feels like a very genuine story with its heart in the right place. i love that val's stuffed animals are called "stuffed animal lovies" throughout, i love his superhero costumes, i love mr. knuckles, i love her father and their board game tournaments, i love mrs. ravelli, and i loved all the friendships in this book - they felt very authentic, with all the jealousy and hurt feelings, but the strong foundations that helped them realign.but most especially, i love that thyme has a healthy fear of birdsI'd never liked birds much, especially since our fourth-grade field trip to a bird sanctuary, where fifty songbirds swarmed me all at once. Apparently, you're supposed to drop the feed on the ground, not clutch it in your fists and scream.because sometimes the only thing you can do when those little dinosaurs attack is scream.i loved this book a lot, but i think kids will love it even more than i did, and that's the most important thing.come to my blog!
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  • Heidi Heilig
    January 1, 1970
    Haven't finished a book in one reading streak for a while. COUNTING THYME fixed that. COUNTING THYME is a story about a middle-child swept up in family tragedy. It's a story about feeling ignored--invisible--unimportant. The pain of not being seen--and then feeling selfish for asking to be seen when there are bigger things going on--rang true. It's also a book about finding your place in the world. The details in COUNTING THYME blew me away. I, too, moved to NYC at a young age and Conklin got it Haven't finished a book in one reading streak for a while. COUNTING THYME fixed that. COUNTING THYME is a story about a middle-child swept up in family tragedy. It's a story about feeling ignored--invisible--unimportant. The pain of not being seen--and then feeling selfish for asking to be seen when there are bigger things going on--rang true. It's also a book about finding your place in the world. The details in COUNTING THYME blew me away. I, too, moved to NYC at a young age and Conklin got it spot on: how, in the big city, you gather your found family around you. Some are neighbors, some are school mates, some are helpers. I loved getting to know all the people in Thyme's new world (especially her cranky neighbor); I felt like I'd moved into her building with her. COUNTING THYME made me cry, but it made me laugh too. Thyme's voice was so adorable--a little sass, a lot of heart. I really recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt put aside when something too big to for anyone to handle is happening around them.
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  • Traci Chee
    January 1, 1970
    I signed up for an ARC tour of COUNTING THYME months ago, and this weekend I finally had the great pleasure of reading it.I was not disappointed.COUNTING THYME is the story of a girl whose little brother has a very rare, very life-threatening cancer, and much of the plot deals with her feelings of loneliness and left-out-ness as her mother and father devote more and more time to her sick brother. But this is just one part of a bigger story--the story of a family as it tries to come together in t I signed up for an ARC tour of COUNTING THYME months ago, and this weekend I finally had the great pleasure of reading it.I was not disappointed.COUNTING THYME is the story of a girl whose little brother has a very rare, very life-threatening cancer, and much of the plot deals with her feelings of loneliness and left-out-ness as her mother and father devote more and more time to her sick brother. But this is just one part of a bigger story--the story of a family as it tries to come together in the face of huge, overwhelming obstacles, as their roles and relationships shift to compensate, and they struggle to find home when so much is unfamiliar and uncertain.Conklin's characters are so vivid, so endearingly and devastatingly real, that I feel like they could be living three floors up in my apartment building, like Thyme could have gone to my middle school, like Cori could have been my friend in drama club. Each of the secondary characters feels like they could have a story of their own, like they do have a story of their own and in fact it's happening just off the page in the spaces we don't see, the places we can't read. The prose is lovely, and the emotional notes striking and poignant. This is a book I could come back to again and again and always feel like I'm coming home to family.
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  • Brooks Benjamin
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.You know, no one ever said reading books was easy. Some are, sure. But some grind you up into an emotion-filled pulp and leave you puddling on the floor at every turn of the page. You being wondering what in the actual expletive was running through the author's head when she wrote it. Was she trying to transform people into wads of blubbering messes? Was she sitting there at her laptop grinning evilly, fueled by pictures of her read I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.You know, no one ever said reading books was easy. Some are, sure. But some grind you up into an emotion-filled pulp and leave you puddling on the floor at every turn of the page. You being wondering what in the actual expletive was running through the author's head when she wrote it. Was she trying to transform people into wads of blubbering messes? Was she sitting there at her laptop grinning evilly, fueled by pictures of her readers all collapsing into a nervous heap--just a pile of arms, legs, tears, and snot bubbles? Maybe.I don't know.But maybe.I can't weasel my way into Melanie Conklin's brain (even though I'd love to), but Counting Thyme did just that to me. From the very beginning of the story, we learn about Thyme's little brother, Val, and his struggle with cancer. And it was from that moment on that I fell in love with this book. Not because it dealt with a child fighting a life-threatening disease, but because of the reaction the entire family had to it. Every action, line, phrase, and word is smothered in sincerity. Melanie never once plays the pity card. We absolutely feel sorry for these people, especially Val, but there's never a moment when she dwells on that for even a microsecond too long. This family maintains a positive attitude in such a believable way that you find yourself nodding your head to what the parents say, to the words of encouragement from Thyme, even to the occasional fed-up reactions of her sister. You keep the smile on your face.You tell yourself it'll be okay.You begin to believe everything's going to be all right.But the entire time you do that, you still know. There's that whisper telling you that it could all go wrong at any moment. That the next day could bring the news no one dares speak of. So you wait. And you melt. And your body is so tense that it's hard to turn the page. Because somehow Melanie has put you so deeply into the story of Thyme and her brother, that you're not just feeling what they're feeling, you're living it, too. And that's why this book gets five stars. Because of its ability to capture those experiences and extend them out to the reader in such a subtle way that, before long, we're completely unaware that we're not in our world any longer. We're with Thyme. With Val. With the family. And even though their lives are constantly operating under this umbrella of potential devastation, they operate together. They operate with hope and trust and love. And we feel that, too. Because Melanie knows no one can escape bad news when it shows up. What we can do, though, is surround ourselves with the people we love and make every single moment a memorable one. Just like this book. Because once you read Counting Thyme, you won't soon forget it. You've found new friends on those pages. You've found people you can trust. You've found hope, too.
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  • Bridget Hodder
    January 1, 1970
    The lovely Middle Grade novel COUNTING THYME is an engaging exploration of truths withheld and truths denied. It's also about learning to recognize the power of the deepest truth within ourselves: love. The story is told in a genuine Middle Grade voice, by 11-year-old Thyme Owens. Her family has pulled up stakes in California and moved to New York City, in a desperate bid to find a cure for her little brother's cancer.Thyme thinks of California as "home" and counts up the minutes and hours her p The lovely Middle Grade novel COUNTING THYME is an engaging exploration of truths withheld and truths denied. It's also about learning to recognize the power of the deepest truth within ourselves: love. The story is told in a genuine Middle Grade voice, by 11-year-old Thyme Owens. Her family has pulled up stakes in California and moved to New York City, in a desperate bid to find a cure for her little brother's cancer.Thyme thinks of California as "home" and counts up the minutes and hours her parents owe her in exchange for corresponding sacrifices she's made on her brother's behalf. She writes her parents' time debts on pieces of paper and stores them in a jar, though in the course of the novel she starts to wonder if she'll ever get a chance to act on her plan to "cash in" this stored-up time to return to California. The time slips form a sort of bulwark between her and all the scary transitions and frightening facts gathering on her horizon. Even though Thyme loves and cares desperately about her brother, this counting, this reckoning, is protecting her from entering too dangerously deep into the pain of his struggle, and the very real possibility of his impending death. Her focus on the time slips is also keeping her from growing and changing enough to fully meet these challenges.Impressively, the author handles weighty subject matter with a lightness of touch that doesn't force or manipulate as it moves through the narrative. She offers a realistic evocation of how life surprises us with humor and kindness even in the midst of confusion and grief, and a celebration of where these moments of grace and insight can ultimately take us. The book even delivers a dawning Middle Grade romance and some laugh-out-loud New York moments!In the course of the narrative, we learn--and Thyme does, too--that the journey to acceptance is one each of us must eventually take in order to live the deepest, fullest possible life. And we can take it blindfolded, never realizing we are not alone; or we can go with our eyes open, and know we are together. Together with her family, Thyme is going to be okay...whatever happens.What a beautiful theme, for a beautiful book.(Thank you to Penguin Random House, G.P. Putnam's Sons for the Advance Reader Copy. I received no compensation for this review.)
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  • Dee
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy of COUNTING THYME in exchange for an honest review. There was so much I loved about this book. The characters all have their own personalities, quirks, and lovable traits. Some of them appear most often in the serious parts of the story, while others lighten things up just when you need it. We get to know Thyme so well and experience the up and down emotions she goes through. And you'll learn the double meaning of the title, which also gives you an inside glimpse into I received an advance copy of COUNTING THYME in exchange for an honest review. There was so much I loved about this book. The characters all have their own personalities, quirks, and lovable traits. Some of them appear most often in the serious parts of the story, while others lighten things up just when you need it. We get to know Thyme so well and experience the up and down emotions she goes through. And you'll learn the double meaning of the title, which also gives you an inside glimpse into her heart. This was an emotional read for me with cancer being such a big part of the story, but as much as this did make me cry, the author managed to show hope through Thyme's family and the new friends she encounters. There were so many times I laughed in the midst of it all. I can't tell you my favorite part of the book until you read it, but it was one of the most powerful lines I’ve read in a long time.
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  • Victoria Coe
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy of COUNTING THYME by Melanie Conklin in exchange for an honest review. This is the story of 11-year-old Thyme Owens who moves with her family from San Diego to New York so her younger brother Val can participate in a cancer drug trial. As the whole family experiences ups and downs during the adjustment to their new (temporary) life in New York, Thyme harbors a secret plan to return to her best friend and grandmother in San Diego. But even thinking about the plan only c I received an advance copy of COUNTING THYME by Melanie Conklin in exchange for an honest review. This is the story of 11-year-old Thyme Owens who moves with her family from San Diego to New York so her younger brother Val can participate in a cancer drug trial. As the whole family experiences ups and downs during the adjustment to their new (temporary) life in New York, Thyme harbors a secret plan to return to her best friend and grandmother in San Diego. But even thinking about the plan only complicates things, because returning to her old life would mean abandoning her new one - particularly Val who needs her love and support more than ever. COUNTING THYME is a book I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in. Thyme's love and concern for her brother, as well as her struggle to find her place both at her new school and new home, were engaging, real, and compelling. I'd highly recommend this book to any middle grade reader!
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  • Laura Shovan
    January 1, 1970
    I don't review books, but I do blog about them.Read my post about COUNTING THYME here: http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2015/1...
  • Kathleen Glasgow
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Melanie Conklin's gorgeous middle grade debut COUNTING THYME. Thyme Owens is the big sister of Val, her five-year-old brother who suffers from a type of cancer called neuroblastoma. Her family moves from San Diego quite suddenly in order to enroll him in a new drug trial. Thyme is in a noisy new city, with no friends, a new school, no grandma, and nowhere to turn. I had the strangest sensation reading this book; it took me until about the middle w I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Melanie Conklin's gorgeous middle grade debut COUNTING THYME. Thyme Owens is the big sister of Val, her five-year-old brother who suffers from a type of cancer called neuroblastoma. Her family moves from San Diego quite suddenly in order to enroll him in a new drug trial. Thyme is in a noisy new city, with no friends, a new school, no grandma, and nowhere to turn. I had the strangest sensation reading this book; it took me until about the middle when I suddenly looked up and said: oh, Judy Blume. When I was younger, I DEVOURED Judy Blume. I haunted bookstores waiting for her latest book to arrive, I reread them until they were dogeared and sloppy. This book reminded me of that completely immersive experience of reading a Blume book and knowing, "I would like this girl. This girl has an interesting story. This girl could be my friend." Conklin's obvious love and respect for Thyme's feelings and experiences mirror the respect and care Blume gave her young characters. Thyme isn't some snippy CW-inspired tween: she's real, she hurts, she does selfish things, and she feels guilty about them. She loves her brother, but she misses home. She loves her brother, but she wishes her parents would spend more time with her. Conklin does a masterful job of juggling a painful storyline (a very sick relative) and the day-to-day rigors of just goddamn being 11 (trying to make new friends at a new school, meeting a boy). This book will be great for middle-graders (you could start a lot of discussions about compassion using this book), but also for anyone of any age who has a sick relative.
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  • Erin Petti
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.This is an enthusiastic 5-star review. This book is special. I usually won't choose a story when I know beforehand that there's a sick child involved. I'm pretty sensitive. But if I'd have let that stop me from reading COUNTING THYME, I would have missed out on a rich, lovely, pitch-perfect Middle Grade book.Conklin plays the major and minor chords of this story with subtlety, grace, and humor. The result is a full and beautiful mov I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.This is an enthusiastic 5-star review. This book is special. I usually won't choose a story when I know beforehand that there's a sick child involved. I'm pretty sensitive. But if I'd have let that stop me from reading COUNTING THYME, I would have missed out on a rich, lovely, pitch-perfect Middle Grade book.Conklin plays the major and minor chords of this story with subtlety, grace, and humor. The result is a full and beautiful movement of the heart. Every page feels packed with love. There is so much empathy here, and it's so deftly written.I love it. I just love this book.
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  • Lois Sepahban
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky to read an advanced copy of COUNTING THYME.Thyme Owens has all of the typical 11-year-old struggles: friendship problems, sibling problems, a new school, and a first crush. While Thyme navigates those struggles, she also has to contend with something really big: her little brother has cancer. So for Thyme, every choice becomes a conflict between being helpful and hopeful for her little brother or doing something for herself.Thyme's experience is real and authentic and often painful. I was lucky to read an advanced copy of COUNTING THYME.Thyme Owens has all of the typical 11-year-old struggles: friendship problems, sibling problems, a new school, and a first crush. While Thyme navigates those struggles, she also has to contend with something really big: her little brother has cancer. So for Thyme, every choice becomes a conflict between being helpful and hopeful for her little brother or doing something for herself.Thyme's experience is real and authentic and often painful. Her story reminds you that in dark places, holding onto love and family and friends can bring you into the light again.I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Sarah Ahiers
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an arc of this in return for a fair review.Ugh, this book kind of broke me. In a good way.Thyme has just moved to New York City with her family because her younger brother, who's suffering from neuroblastoma (nerve cancer), has been entered into a drug trial. Thyme loves her brother so much, and desperately wants him to be well again, but she also loves her home she's leaving behind, her best friend, her grandmother and the secret garden they've planted.Thyme's parents I was lucky enough to read an arc of this in return for a fair review.Ugh, this book kind of broke me. In a good way.Thyme has just moved to New York City with her family because her younger brother, who's suffering from neuroblastoma (nerve cancer), has been entered into a drug trial. Thyme loves her brother so much, and desperately wants him to be well again, but she also loves her home she's leaving behind, her best friend, her grandmother and the secret garden they've planted.Thyme's parents say it's only for a few months, but Thyme wants to be home before she misses her shared birthday with her BFF. So she sets about completing any and every chore, since her award is "time" she can then cash in later for things. If she collects enough time, she know she can get home.But in the meantime, she has to go to school and try to fit in with the new kids. And deal with a cranky/scary downstairs neighbor. And share a room with her older sister who keeps getting in trouble. Not to mention that her mom seems only focused on her brother and no one else.And when Thyme discovers that her parents are keeping secrets, she has to make some decisions on her own, even if someone ends up getting hurt.I love Thyme. I love all the characters, actually (except for one girl who is mean, but, y'know, I reserve the right to dislike mean characters) but Thyme is clearly the heart of this story as the main character and she carries that torch well. Her complicated emotions are fully realized and utterly believable and mostly I just wanted to hug her a lot for the hard place she finds herself in--wanting her brother to get better but also wanting to go back home.I also adored the side plots revolving around school. I love school books and Thyme trying to make friends (and maybe a boyfriend!) is wonderful and full of twists and turns and angst that kept me turning the page until the very end.Highly recommend for fans of realistic MG. Thyme won't let you down.
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  • Jenn Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a sucker for any book that’ll give me the feels. My debut is, admittedly, a tearjerker, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was drawn to another middle grade tearjerker, Melanie Conklin‘s debut Counting Thyme.Eleven-year-old Thyme Owens has just left her beloved home (and grandmother, and best friend) behind in San Diego, and moved to the Big Apple. But her eyes aren’t starry with dreams of Broadway and everything else that New York City has to offer; Thy Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a sucker for any book that’ll give me the feels. My debut is, admittedly, a tearjerker, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I was drawn to another middle grade tearjerker, Melanie Conklin‘s debut Counting Thyme.Eleven-year-old Thyme Owens has just left her beloved home (and grandmother, and best friend) behind in San Diego, and moved to the Big Apple. But her eyes aren’t starry with dreams of Broadway and everything else that New York City has to offer; Thyme is here for a different reason. Her younger brother Val (short for Valerian) has been accepted to be part of a drug trial to treat his neuroblastoma, a nerve cancer.Thyme doesn’t know how long they’ll be staying in NYC, but she has her eyes set on a quick return. The two things she most wants pull her in opposite directions. Val getting better, and a return home; can she have them both? In a way, she thinks she can. The thing is, Mom’s been giving her little slips of paper for “time” — free passes for a half hour, an hour, etc. — for her to do whatever she wants, a counterbalance for how much of her family’s time is consumed by care for Val. Thyme collects all these slips in a glass jar, hoping beyond hope that she can amass enough “time” to go back to San Diego. To go back home.Meanwhile, a life in New York city beckons. There’s a new school. New potential friends. A cute boy in class. A crotchety downstairs neighbor with a cockatoo. Ravioli — ahem, Mrs. Ravelli. The school play, The Wizard of Oz, and being in the sound crew with said cute boy.Is Thyme just biding her time? Or could she possibly find a new life here in New York City?I boarded my cross-country flight this morning with one goal. I was going to read Counting Thyme on this flight and it was going to help me pass the time! Oh, did it. As I sniffled my way through the flight — eventually I had to ask a flight attendant for some napkins to use in lieu of tissues — I became so deeply concerned with Thyme’s family, especially Thyme and Val. My heart ached for Thyme as she so often put herself second in caring for her little brother. Conklin does an amazing job of authentically portraying Thyme’s whole world, from her NYC apartment building life to the middle school experience to her sometimes fraught relationship with her older sister Cori (short for Coriander). This family felt so real for me, which of course is what led to the sniffling.Thyme is self-deprecating and funny, sometimes brave, sometime shy and awkward, but full of love and hope and fear. The fear of losing Val, of Val ending up in the hospital, of his body resisting the trial — all of that is always there, always simmering beneath the surface. Though Thyme keeps her real reason for being in NYC a secret from her peers at school, she can never keep the truth far from her own mind. This book imparted on me such a strong sense of the impact a child’s cancer can have on every member of the family, and of the varying personal reactions to this experience.Highly, highly recommended!
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  • Lindsay Eagar
    January 1, 1970
    Thyme's family moves to New York City so her younger brother, Val, can participate in a drug trial for his neuroblastoma cancer. She must deal with a new city, a new school, new peers, all the while desperately missing her hometown and best friend. Conklin stitches together a book about moving and a book about childhood cancer into a nuanced story about family and sacrifice. The writing itself is beautiful but subtle, and woven with the tiniest emotional details. The Owens are all vivid, well-wr Thyme's family moves to New York City so her younger brother, Val, can participate in a drug trial for his neuroblastoma cancer. She must deal with a new city, a new school, new peers, all the while desperately missing her hometown and best friend. Conklin stitches together a book about moving and a book about childhood cancer into a nuanced story about family and sacrifice. The writing itself is beautiful but subtle, and woven with the tiniest emotional details. The Owens are all vivid, well-written characters, and their interactions feel as true and complicated as a 3-D family. Even Conklin's secondary characters feel chiseled and add to Thyme's discovery of what it means to belong.The book can also go on any list of books set in NYC. Even though Thyme comes to the city as a reluctant outsider, the book feels like an ode to New York, with so many moments perfectly reflecting life in the Big Apple. The chapters during the holidays are especially magical. COUNTING THYME reads like a classic on the middle grade shelf, and will be beloved by children and adults for many years. It is sad without being depressing, and so full of hope for a book involving cancer. It is a perfect read for those who liked Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME. I read an advanced copy of COUNTING THYME by Melanie Conklin in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an absolute delight. Thyme Owens and her family need to move from their home in California to an apartment in NYC because her little brother, Val, has the opportunity to be part of a cancer drug trial that could help save his life. Of course they're going to go, but that doesn't mean that Thyme isn't a little bit sad about the upheaval. She's leaving her best friend Shani, her house, her grandma! And for any middle schooler, this is A LOT, especially on top of everything her family This book was an absolute delight. Thyme Owens and her family need to move from their home in California to an apartment in NYC because her little brother, Val, has the opportunity to be part of a cancer drug trial that could help save his life. Of course they're going to go, but that doesn't mean that Thyme isn't a little bit sad about the upheaval. She's leaving her best friend Shani, her house, her grandma! And for any middle schooler, this is A LOT, especially on top of everything her family is going through. I loved these characters and their big hearts. This family was so special - the way they care so much, the way they look out for each other, the way they struggle and try to find a new normal together. There was sadness, but there was so much hope, too! Conklin weaves in these wonderful threads of humor and first crushes and new experiences and friendships. I loved the secondary characters, too. Lizzie, Jake, Sylvie, Mrs. Ravelli. There was also this great New York flavor to the book which made it even more fun. This book settled into a little corner of my heart. I just loved it. I would highly recommend to anyone who loved COUNTING BY 7s or LIAR AND SPY. Or really anyone who loves a book with great heart.
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  • Mike Grosso
    January 1, 1970
    A very sweet, real book about a family in a situation most will hope to never be in.Everyone in Thyme's family plays their important part, even if they don't always understand which part that is. Thyme's feelings are harsh at times, but legitimate and realistic. She knows the gravity of the situation, and still can't help feeling like she doesn't "count" in the family. Her exploration in this regard is both painful and reassuring.There is so much to infer as to her parents' emotions. It's plain A very sweet, real book about a family in a situation most will hope to never be in.Everyone in Thyme's family plays their important part, even if they don't always understand which part that is. Thyme's feelings are harsh at times, but legitimate and realistic. She knows the gravity of the situation, and still can't help feeling like she doesn't "count" in the family. Her exploration in this regard is both painful and reassuring.There is so much to infer as to her parents' emotions. It's plain for all to see, but Conklin wisely keeps their thoughts internal, allowing the reader to see things from just enough distance to understand the feelings of everyone involved.Bravo on a stellar debut. There are a lot of kids out there who need this book.
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  • Sara Grochowski
    January 1, 1970
    Thyme is unhappy when her parents decide that their entire family must pack up and move to New York, but her feelings are unimportant next to her little brother Val’s needs. A chance to beat Val’s cancer waits in the city, so, for now, Thyme must say goodbye to her grandmother and friends. Will Thyme adjust to the difficult changes in her life that are feeling less and less temporary? Or will she spend the days, hours, and minutes counting down until she’s able to return home? Melanie Conklin’s Thyme is unhappy when her parents decide that their entire family must pack up and move to New York, but her feelings are unimportant next to her little brother Val’s needs. A chance to beat Val’s cancer waits in the city, so, for now, Thyme must say goodbye to her grandmother and friends. Will Thyme adjust to the difficult changes in her life that are feeling less and less temporary? Or will she spend the days, hours, and minutes counting down until she’s able to return home? Melanie Conklin’s debut Counting Thyme is a heartfelt depiction of family, change, and acceptance populated by characters that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
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  • Elly Swartz
    January 1, 1970
    Grab the tissues and block off the afternoon. That’s the way I read Counting Thyme and I highly recommend all of it. The time, the tissues, the book. What a wonderfully emotional and heart tugging story with truly authentic characters. I fell in love with Thyme in the first paragraph. In those few lines, I knew her truth and her heart. Thyme, her sister, Cori, and her parents, all want, Val, the littlest in the family who’s fighting cancer, to get better, to be better. They have all given up muc Grab the tissues and block off the afternoon. That’s the way I read Counting Thyme and I highly recommend all of it. The time, the tissues, the book. What a wonderfully emotional and heart tugging story with truly authentic characters. I fell in love with Thyme in the first paragraph. In those few lines, I knew her truth and her heart. Thyme, her sister, Cori, and her parents, all want, Val, the littlest in the family who’s fighting cancer, to get better, to be better. They have all given up much for that truth. And they all would do it again and again, as we see in the story. But they all have their very real moments of breaking. In the story, Conklin shows that unconditional love is not always easy just because it's unconditional. Conklin does a wonderful job revealing this authenticity in the characters and their relationships. She also does a great job with the secondary characters and story lines. Some of my favorite scenes were with Mrs. Revelli and Mr. Lipinsky. Honestly, I just wanted to give Mrs. Revelli a huge thanks-for-taking-care-of Thyme hug. This story will touch many hearts and will stay with you long after the last page. Highly recommend!I received an ARC of this book for an honest review of the story.
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  • Lee Malone
    January 1, 1970
    This is a gem of a book, with complex and captivating characters. Thyme Owens, the narrator, is dealing with the regular stuff of starting a new middle school — making friends, first crushes, and finding herself. But she's also dealing with an enormous family problem, and the reason they moved in the first place: her little brother has cancer, and they moved for his treatment. Thyme has to navigate petty disagreements among friends, boys, and school all while dealing with a terrible case of home This is a gem of a book, with complex and captivating characters. Thyme Owens, the narrator, is dealing with the regular stuff of starting a new middle school — making friends, first crushes, and finding herself. But she's also dealing with an enormous family problem, and the reason they moved in the first place: her little brother has cancer, and they moved for his treatment. Thyme has to navigate petty disagreements among friends, boys, and school all while dealing with a terrible case of homesickness and the crushing fear that her brother won't survive.I especially liked the many interesting characters in this book, not only Thyme and her friends, but her flawed family, and a couple of wacky neighbors. I loved how all the characters were three dimensional with their own moods, goals, and internal stories. The author also has a wonderful way of capturing feelings, especially tough ones, in simple but meaningful words. A great read, for kids and adults alike. (I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
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  • Monica Tesler
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! While it deals with a difficult topic--childhood cancer from the sibling's perspective--the story has such strong underlying plots and themes that it becomes broadly relatable. As someone who moved around a lot growing up, I really identified with Thyme's transition to her new home in New York and the inner struggle of trying to cling to what you left behind while trying to build something new and the guilt and longing that comes on both sides of that. I particularly admire ho I loved this book! While it deals with a difficult topic--childhood cancer from the sibling's perspective--the story has such strong underlying plots and themes that it becomes broadly relatable. As someone who moved around a lot growing up, I really identified with Thyme's transition to her new home in New York and the inner struggle of trying to cling to what you left behind while trying to build something new and the guilt and longing that comes on both sides of that. I particularly admire how the author portrayed Thyme, a middle child, someone who would rather work backstage than pursue the lead part, as she slips into the background of a family in crisis. Also, I loved the juxtaposition of the priorities of Thyme's day-to-day life--crushes, old and new friends, school dynamics--against the family's priorities--the youngest child's illness--and how the author showed how both were so important. I read an ARC for this book over a weekend, and I'm thrilled I had the opportunity.
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  • Ki-Wing
    January 1, 1970
    I read COUNTING THYME as part of an ARC tour. 11 yo Thyme feels like she no longer counts. Her younger brother battles cancer and her family leaves everything she’s ever known to relocate to New York for a drug trial. Her parents’ attention is consumed by caring for her brother. Her sister reacts by ignoring everyone else. Meanwhile, Thyme accumulates time--one hour here, two there—as slips of paper rewarded by her parents for cooperation. Thyme plans to collect enough slips to ask to return to I read COUNTING THYME as part of an ARC tour. 11 yo Thyme feels like she no longer counts. Her younger brother battles cancer and her family leaves everything she’s ever known to relocate to New York for a drug trial. Her parents’ attention is consumed by caring for her brother. Her sister reacts by ignoring everyone else. Meanwhile, Thyme accumulates time--one hour here, two there—as slips of paper rewarded by her parents for cooperation. Thyme plans to collect enough slips to ask to return to home. There is so much to love about this book: its portrayal of family and friendship, of how conflict arises in any relationship and what it means to be a sister or friend. What I love most is how Melanie Conklin captures the slow progression, the many layered shifts, of one world growing into another.A wonderful debut.
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  • Abby Cooper
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I finished COUNTING THYME less than 24 hours after I started it. It's one of those books where you become so emotionally invested in the characters that you can't stop until you know if everything's going to be okay. This book was one of the most authentic I've ever read - Thyme's experiences, reactions, thoughts, feelings and relationships are just SO perfectly middle grade. I'd spend "thyme" with her (and any other book Conklin wr I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I finished COUNTING THYME less than 24 hours after I started it. It's one of those books where you become so emotionally invested in the characters that you can't stop until you know if everything's going to be okay. This book was one of the most authentic I've ever read - Thyme's experiences, reactions, thoughts, feelings and relationships are just SO perfectly middle grade. I'd spend "thyme" with her (and any other book Conklin writes) any day!
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    The novel follows 11-year-old Thyme Owens, who moves from San Diego to New York City after her brother is accepted into a cancer drug trial. There, she discovers that hope can be found in everyday miracles: in first crushes, in budding friendships, in school plays, and in a sister's love for her little brother.
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  • Wendy MacKnight
    January 1, 1970
    In Counting Thyme, author Melanie Conklin takes her readers on a journey with a wonderful family coping with the devastating reality that their youngest member, Val, is fighting and perhaps dying or a rare cancer. Everything is told through the eyes of our heroine, Thyme, who must cope with a cross-country move, middle grade and middle child drama, and the reality that she is often forgotten in the "new normal" of Val's illness and clinical trials. The characters are amazingly constructed; every In Counting Thyme, author Melanie Conklin takes her readers on a journey with a wonderful family coping with the devastating reality that their youngest member, Val, is fighting and perhaps dying or a rare cancer. Everything is told through the eyes of our heroine, Thyme, who must cope with a cross-country move, middle grade and middle child drama, and the reality that she is often forgotten in the "new normal" of Val's illness and clinical trials. The characters are amazingly constructed; everyone has their moment to shine and to fail, just like real life. The counting conceit feels fresh and is used effectively. I'll not give any spoilers here, but this book so a must read and a welcome addition to the middle grade canon.
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  • Jenny Moyer
    January 1, 1970
    This book grabbed me by the heart and didn't let go! The characters are so real, and the main character's emotional journey so genuine, that at times I just ached for Thyme and her family. Conklin explores love and loss in all its facets, with intriguing characters with multi-layered depth. This is the kind of book you can learn things from: about love, loss, acceptance, and growing up--all with hope intertwined. COUNTING THYME reached me at my core, and I'm better for having read it. I received This book grabbed me by the heart and didn't let go! The characters are so real, and the main character's emotional journey so genuine, that at times I just ached for Thyme and her family. Conklin explores love and loss in all its facets, with intriguing characters with multi-layered depth. This is the kind of book you can learn things from: about love, loss, acceptance, and growing up--all with hope intertwined. COUNTING THYME reached me at my core, and I'm better for having read it. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mary Lee
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED this! It's been a long time since characters and a story grabbed me like this and wouldn't let me go until I finished the book!
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I knew I would like this one as soon as I read the description. I'm a sucker for "disease books." Melanie Conklin's work did not disappoint. Told from eleven-year-old Thyme's point of view it is the story of a family who moves from San Diego (my former stomping ground) to the Big Apple so five-year-old Val can participate in an experimental treatment for his life-threatening cancer. Thyme is a delightful character and Conklin does an excellent job of incorporating just the right amount of releva I knew I would like this one as soon as I read the description. I'm a sucker for "disease books." Melanie Conklin's work did not disappoint. Told from eleven-year-old Thyme's point of view it is the story of a family who moves from San Diego (my former stomping ground) to the Big Apple so five-year-old Val can participate in an experimental treatment for his life-threatening cancer. Thyme is a delightful character and Conklin does an excellent job of incorporating just the right amount of relevant information about medicine with a heartfelt and very real tale about a family's love and perseverance.
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  • Ruth Lehrer
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to get a free ARC of this book. Such a sweet story! The details totally made it all come together. Anyone who has ever lived in New York City will recognize the schools, the streets and subways (whoops, got on an express instead of a local.) Anyone who has ever lived in the country and gone to the city will empathize with Thyme's culture shock (black party dresses?) Conklin creates complicated family relationships with flawed adults and strong children. She describes girls' ch I was lucky enough to get a free ARC of this book. Such a sweet story! The details totally made it all come together. Anyone who has ever lived in New York City will recognize the schools, the streets and subways (whoops, got on an express instead of a local.) Anyone who has ever lived in the country and gone to the city will empathize with Thyme's culture shock (black party dresses?) Conklin creates complicated family relationships with flawed adults and strong children. She describes girls' changing middle school friendships with characters that stick in your mind long after you've put the book down. Middle graders and everyone else will love this book.
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  • Ronni Arno
    January 1, 1970
    COUNTING THYME has everything I love in a middle-grade novel... an authentic voice and a story with heart. Melanie Conklin shows us Thyme's every-day life, which all middle-schoolers can relate to. School. Friends. Family. Boys. But she also adds extra depth and insight as Thyme not only has to deal with a cross-country move, but also the reason behind the move--her little brother's cancer. As I read this book, Thyme, her family, friends, and neighbors became quite real to me, and I was anxiousl COUNTING THYME has everything I love in a middle-grade novel... an authentic voice and a story with heart. Melanie Conklin shows us Thyme's every-day life, which all middle-schoolers can relate to. School. Friends. Family. Boys. But she also adds extra depth and insight as Thyme not only has to deal with a cross-country move, but also the reason behind the move--her little brother's cancer. As I read this book, Thyme, her family, friends, and neighbors became quite real to me, and I was anxiously turning the pages to see where their lives would take them. I can't wait to buy this book for my daughter and her friends!
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so blessed to have been able to read this book. It touched my heart in so many ways. I laughed, I cried (a lot), and I was so sad to read the last page, because that meant it was over. This story has so many layers that build on each other as the story progresses. And the characters are quirky and lovable, from Mrs. Ravelli to Mr. Lipinsky and everyone in between. I love the concept of time that's carried throughout and culminates in a scene that left me sobbing at the end. This book doesn't I'm so blessed to have been able to read this book. It touched my heart in so many ways. I laughed, I cried (a lot), and I was so sad to read the last page, because that meant it was over. This story has so many layers that build on each other as the story progresses. And the characters are quirky and lovable, from Mrs. Ravelli to Mr. Lipinsky and everyone in between. I love the concept of time that's carried throughout and culminates in a scene that left me sobbing at the end. This book doesn't come out until next year, but it's definitely worth pre-ordering now so you can read it the day it's published. It's that good.
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