Blog Tour: The Counting Downers by A.J. Compton - Review & Giveaway

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The stunningly poignant and life-affirming debut novel by A.J. Compton 

Imagine if we could see how long everyone around us had left to live. But we weren’t allowed to know our own numbers… 

Trying to make sense of life after the death of her beloved father, free spirit Matilda Evans meets Tristan Isaacs and discovers a marrow-deep connection with him. 

No stranger to grief himself, lonely artist Tristan is in awe of Matilda’s fun and philosophical approach to life. With every second spent in her presence, he finds his views on life and loss changing, and begins to embrace the beauty of being alive. 

As their friendship turns into something deeper, lessons are learned, memories are made, and legacies are created. 

But with both of them knowing how long their soulmate has left in this lifetime, important questions have to be asked and tough decisions have to be made before time runs out.

The Counting-Downers is an inspiring story about life, loss, love, and making the most of every moment.


The Counting Downers was not a typical read for me. It is very flowery and romantic, very poignant and just not what I usually read. I did enjoy it over all, though at times it got to be a bit too much for me. I think most readers will really enjoy the story. It definitely tugs on the heartstrings and makes you really think about love and death, living, and losing those you care about.

I originally wanted to read this story because the idea behind it intrigued me. That you know how much time everyone around you has left to live, but you don't know how long you have. That you can't know or things will happen that are not the best. Really I thought of the movie Timer, which is completely different and fun, and thought this would be similar for some reason. I started reading and just thought okay, I should get the My Little Pony show read as I am going to need to be cheered up after this one. This is going to be a real downer, and it was, but also kind of hopeful at the same time. The story starts off with Matilda's dad dying. Her dad that she was super close to. Her dad that was everything to her, to her family. Her dad who she doesn't know what she will do without. She is destroyed even though she knew when he would die. The beginning, her trying to deal with his death, the funeral, all of that I was enjoying, but then it got to be a little long for me. I was just like got it, can we move on. My dad died when I was about Matilda's age. I was really close to him like she was with her dad. I know how hard it can be, but mine was taken suddenly. I didn't get those last days to really soak up as much time as I could with him and to keep reading about it was just a bit much for me. Sometimes I have a hard time with things like that. 

This book talks a lot about death, about knowing how much time everyone has left. At first I thought I wonder if you just kind of get used to everyone having this box above their heads counting down their life. Do you even notice normally? Is it only when something comes up that makes you think that one day they will be gone that you look up? The idea is really interesting to me. Just thinking about what the world would be like, how I would be different if this were how it was, was very interesting. It's hard to imagine and I am not sure if I think it would be a good thing or not. I kind of like not knowing. 

Through the story Matilda and Tristan first become friends, then more than friends. They are obviously in love right from the start. They are perfect for each other. Matilda seems so carefree and fun which is what Tristan needs. Before her he was really on his own. It is sad how he was living before. Out in the middle of nowhere, no friends or family left, just him. Then Matilda swoops in and things are great for him. He knew when he first met her that it wasn't the right time for them. He only hoped that one day they would run into each other again and it would be the right time. He knew right away that she was someone for him and yet he waited. I loved it. 

"It always comes back to T.I.M.E."

For his part Tristan helps Matilda not hate time so much. She seems carefree, but really she is terrified of how much or how little time she and everyone she cares about has left. She is terrified of being left behind and leaving others. For a long time she kept herself removed from other people so she wouldn't get close to anyone. So she wouldn't have to loose them one day. Time is her least favorite four letter work, but Tristan works to try and change that. I really loved him. He is more like me I think. Everyone dies eventually and you cannot do anything about that so why worry about it? Matilda gets so caught up in her time that she doesn't always live. 

I was loving this story, but things fell apart a little bit at the end. It was still good, I still enjoyed it and overall really liked the story, but it just was a little off for me. Matilda all of a sudden gets really stupid and her conversation with her mom were too stilted. I like the ideas being shared, but it felt off from the way the rest of the story was written. It was only a few pages, so it didn't ruin anything, but there it is. Plus I really wanted to see a different epilogue. I read why the author didn't, and I get it, but that didn't stop me from wanting it.

Overall I think most people will really love this story. It just makes you think, makes you consider how much time you have left and what you are doing with it. It is a downer, but a hopeful downer. Really an interesting read. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

About the Author:

A.J. Compton is a 23-year-old Londoner, professional dreamer, and full-time over-thinker. She is the author of The Counting-Downers and a dozen other unfinished manuscripts which will hopefully see the light of day soon.

A University of Cambridge graduate, A.J. is currently in a polygamous relationship with an embarrassing 
number of fictional book boyfriends.

Those two facts are not related. Honestly.

She loves people-watching and exploring her observations in her writing.

She really hates writing about herself in the third person.

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