Review / Counting Thyme

counting-thymeBook: Counting Thyme (2016)
Author: Melanie Conklin
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Basic plot: Thyme Owen’s little brother Val has cancer. What that means is that their family leaves their home in California to go to get him a special treatment in New York City. Thyme’s not keen on leaving behind her best friend Shani. So, she plans to save up the slips in her Thyme Jar (a little reward system used by her parents) so she can go home early to spend her birthday with Shani in March… just like they do every year. But things start to get complicated, especially when Thyme starts to make new friends. She even signs up to take part in the Spring Fling musical at school in… uh oh… March. And then there’s Val’s cancer treatments…


1) I enjoyed the relationship between Thyme and her little brother Val. And also the relationship (at times hard; at other times sisterly) with her sister Cori. And I do like that their names are all garden herbs… thanks Mom (i.e. Rosemary)! Thyme = well, Thyme; Cori = Coriander; and Val = Valerian. Okay, so I’m not super enamored with Val’s name. First, because valerian root is a sleep agent and that seems a little weird to me. Not sure what would have been a better name, though! But I do like the names for Thyme and Coriander.

2) One of the best characters is Mrs. Ravelli, the Italian woman who comes to help the family by cooking, cleaning, and walking Thyme to school. What a wonderful woman she is! I love how Thyme gives her the nickname (in a fond sense) of Ravioli. Because well, her name sounds a lot like it.

3) It’s hard to leave your home and friends behind. I love stories that deal with this. Conklin does a nice job with making this work for the story in just the right balance… the longing vs. the acceptance of a new situation. I like the fact that we get to see how the different family members deal with this.

4) The new friendships that develop in the story were nicely done. They took a few little turns I wasn’t quite expecting, which is good! 🙂

5) I almost wanted more interaction between Thyme and the neighbour-man who lives in the apartment below Thyme’s family. Mr. Lipinsky has a good deal of bite to him, but (of course) he turns out to be a bit of a softy at heart. And then there’s his bird, Sylvie.


1) I like the cover art, but… there is one thing that bothers me about it. If this is New York City, where are the fire escapes?! (That building is a death trap!)

2) There are a few moments where the conflict resolves a little too easily… just like that! *snap* I’m thinking particularly about a scene between the mom and the sister Cori. I was like… well, that was super easy. (If only life worked like that!)


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Love the New York City setting. Thyme is a likeable character. And who wouldn’t want Mrs. Ravioli to cook for them? *Highly recommended.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

*Note #2: You may notice that I didn’t put a rating for this book. After reading this post by Krysta @ Pages Unbound, I’m rethinking my rating system. Basically, I find I don’t really review books I don’t recommend. And my ratings all tend to be the same anyhow. (Usually, I fluctuate between a 3-4 stars which mean I like the book!) I will probably continue to put ratings on my Goodreads account, because well, that’s how that website works. But for now, I’m planning to give my recommendation in the Final Thoughts.

15 thoughts on “Review / Counting Thyme

  1. Ravioli. What a playful nickname. (My mother became Granana because of my niece’s mash up of Grana and banana.) And the kids in the story have great name’s too! It’d be interesting to learn what inspired the author’s fun and whimsical naming.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also like reading stories where children have to move away from friends and relatives because I can relate! I went to 5 school before the 3rd grade. I can also relate to your rating system reassessment. As a reader and an author I find the thoughts of the reviewer give me much more insight and information than a number. Thanks for writing this awesome post for MMGM! :0}

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I reviewed this book a really long time ago, but I forgot many of the details, so thanks for reminding me—it’s nice to remember a book I really loved! I may have to reread it soon. Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like a great story about moving and making new friends. I love that it’s set in New York City. I’m hoping I can find it at my library.Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing with libraries, isn’t it? I see good books and sometimes my library doesn’t have a copy. If I’m really keen on reading the book, I usually ask them to order a copy. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I guess it depends on their budget.


  5. I’ll add my vote for liking this book when I read it awhile back. The characters and the difficult scenario really won me over. When you look at larger images of the front cover I do believe there is a fire escape on the left side. Everyone is safe and thanks for giving this title more love on MMGM.


  6. How about Sage? I like the plot and the characters, as you describe them. I also like to see stories where sibblings are dealing with a sick sibling and how they respond. It is so hard on families and a book like this would be helpful. Thanks for sharing — it’s the type of book I share on my website.


  7. This book has been on my TBR list for years. I was hoping to get to it this summer- but I still have a stack ahead of it. It was great reading your review and seeing what you thought. Sounds like an excellent read. Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s