[Review] Countless

9781408882498I received a copy of this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Quick fire review:

This book deals with mental illness, anorexia, teenage pregnancy and more in a contemporary setting.

Karen Gregory is a fantastic author and her authentic characters and stunning writing are what keeps you hooked on this book.

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‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.

When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?

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 …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.

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4 out of 5 stars

I give the author a lot of credit for penning a thoughtful YA contemporary that isn’t all about a fluffy romance but takes the time to deal with issues such as mental illness, pregnancy and social pressure in what felt like a genuine way.

I quite enjoyed the main character a lot and felt like I went on an emotional journey with her. Hedda has suffered with an eating disorder for most of her life, so discovering she is pregnant really forces her to try and make a mental shift in how she views food, her body and the health of her baby. It really was a heartbreaking thing to watch and as Hedda struggles at times, but her character arc is one of my absolute favourite ones I’ve ever read. No matter how frustrated you get with her actions, all you really want is for Hedda and the baby to be okay in the end.

This really is an eye-opening look at how not only mental illness but specifically anorexia encompasses your life. Gregory takes you through all the raw emotions and fears associated with the disease and places them inside sweet Hedda. Knowing very little about anorexia myself, there may well be key elements that are missed in this narrative, however for the purpose of telling Hedda’s story, I thought she did a perfect job.

I would happily pick up any of Gregory’s other books after reading this book. I thought she did a fantastic job of tackling a tough subject and creating a complex and thoughtful lead.

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