Title: Countless (2017)
Author: Karen Gregory
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Health, Mental Health and Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 4th May 2017
Reviewed by: Lois
“When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time … “
This isn’t your typical Young Adult contemporary. This book has very little romance, a main character who cannot conquer all of her problems and there isn’t a magical cure for any problems that arise.
Countless is a heartbreaking perspective on what it is like to live with Anorexia. The main character Hedda has given all control of her life to her Anorexia or Nia as she likes to call it. This book contains no easy solutions to the problems that Hedda faces. There are no bandages to hide her wounds under, instead we see everything Hedda faces as it is, raw and messy.
I really enjoyed reading about Hedda. She is one of the most realistic teenage characters I have read about. Hedda is so determined to get through her pregnancy without damaging her child even with all the troubles that she is facing with her family, friends and keeping Nia under control. The relationship Hedda has with her parents and younger sister is also extremely realistic. They have their issues and argue a lot, these problems aren’t just magically fixed when Hedda tells them she is pregnant.
Countless in my opinion has one of the best and most realistic representation of mental health in young adult fiction. This book covers very hard-hitting topics such as Anorexia and depression. All of these topics are handed incredibly by the author Karen Gregory. It is easy to make mistakes surrounding the topic of mental health but Karen Gregory portrays it very accurately and with the needed sensitivity.
My only issue with this book is that is it a little slow in parts. This meant that my interest in the book dipped occasionally but once I got passed the slower parts I was a big fan of this book.
Despite the sad and heart-breaking nature of this book I did feel hopeful throughout. This helps to balance out the emotional intensity. For such a big set of heavy topics, this book is told in a very relatable way. Countless contains flawed characters, an urban setting, a vicious demon called Nia and no magical problem solving abilities. This is a tough read but it does contain topics that should not be treated lightly.
Overall, this is a powerful, heart-breaking and hopeful story that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I highly recommend this to you if you are a fan of YA contemporary books that dead with hard-hitting topics.
Thank you to Karen Gregory, Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Until next time,