When ten-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance he needs. It also means that the Owens family has to move across the country, from San Diego to New York—3,000 miles from Thyme’s best friend. Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary. It’s not that New York is terrible—it’s just that Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings. There’s the cold; the garbage; the one, tiny room that she has to share with her older, boy-obsessed sister Cori; and their downstairs neighbor, Ms. Ravelli, whose baked breads and homemade pastas are nothing short of magical.
After the drug trial shows real promise and her father accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the possibility that they could remain in New York. As Thyme’s parents bounce between doctor’s appointments and work, she discovers that everyone—even grouchy Mr. Lipinsky—harbors secret sorrows, that time settles all matters, and that the beauty of life can be found in everyday miracles: first crushes, budding friendships, school plays, and a sister’s immeasurable love for her little brother.
Channeling Rebecca Stead’s LIAR & SPY and Lisa Yee’s MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS, Melanie Conklin has crafted a heartfelt story that keys into the specific issues contemporary tweens all face, all while still appealing to the kid in all of us. This middle grade novel pulls no punches, confronting weighty, true-life issues—such as childhood cancer, identity, and the true meaning of home—head-on. No matter your age or stage of life, COUNTING THYME reminds the reader that every cloud has a silver lining.
Praise for COUNTING THYME: “Debut author Conklin writes with a pitch-perfect middle-grade voice… A nice choice for middle-grade readers who enjoy heartfelt and emotional novels.” –Booklist
“Thyme’s remarkable perseverance and resilience will inspire readers of Conklin’s compassionate tale.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Conklin successfully weaves together the shifting dynamics of a loving family under crisis with the less dramatic but equally heartfelt turmoil of coming of age in a new environment.” –Publishers Weekly
"Melanie Conklin brings New York vividly to life in COUNTING THYME, a gentle story fueled by heart, hope, and beautifully developed characters." –Pat Schmatz, award-winning author of BLUEFISH
"COUNTING THYME shows how a serious illness can tear the fabric of a family apart, and love can stitch it back together again. This deeply moving story of family, friendship and belonging will settle deep in your heart and stay there long after the final page is read." –Donna Gephart, award-winning author of DEATH BY TOILET PAPER and LILY AND DUNKIN