Reader Reviewed Countless by Karen Gregory
  

Countless

Written by Karen Gregory

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | In a Nutshell: Compelling and compassionate account of a pregnant teen fighting an eating disorder |

Insightful, authentic and profoundly moving story of a teenager facing the double struggle of discovering she’s pregnant while fighting an eating disorder.

Hedda’s initial reaction to news of her pregnancy is that she has to “get rid of it”. With her relationship with her family in tatters, she lives alone in a rundown flat, and how can she possibly carry a baby when Nia (Hedda’s name for her personified eating disorder), tells her “that Thing inside you is going to make you fat”? But then the idea of adoption slips into Hedda’s head and she forms a truce with Nia: “When the baby is safely here and I’ve found it some proper parents, then Nia can have me back”. The arrival of a new neighbour – selfless, sensitive, nineteen-year-old Robin - further brightens Hedda’s outlook, and she begins to wonder if she might be able to bring up her own baby. And then there’s the presence of Molly, a friend from her former clinic, now gone, but a still ray of light in Hedda’s life. Hedda faces some huge decisions as she counts down the days and, with the odds stacked against her, she’s going to need tremendous strength to keep going.

With heart-melting empathy, the author conveys how it feels to be in Hedda’s complex situation. I loved her inimitable, imagery-rich voice (“I spot myself, a long smear like a ghost in a shop window”). Yes, Hedda’s story is often heartbreaking, and the knockbacks and obstacles she faces are excruciatingly painful (especially in relation to her family), but the sting of disappointment and difficulty is beautifully offset by the kindnesses of strangers who show that while there’s no easy fix, there is always hope. This is an important, impactful, mightily impressive debut about love, reaching out and taking one step at a time. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Rebekah Marsh, age 14 - 'I experienced every emotion. Anger, despair, happiness. This book was a true emotional roller coaster, one of those books where you finish it, look up and just say "wow".'
  • Morgan Steigmann, age 17 - 'Gregory’s writing is wonderfully addictive!...Countless is not only engaging, but will resonate with both teenage and adult readers alike due to the many struggles of life it touches upon.'
  • Grace Spear, age 14 - 'This book really hits you in your heart and I loved how the characters seemed so real.'
  • Eva Zur, age 14 - 'A book that grabs you from the first page. Loved it!...Once I had started the book, I couldn't put it down and nearly finished it in one sitting!'
  • Maisie Sadler, age 15 - 'An important story about mental illness and teen pregnancy. Such an honest moving story. Read it !...It gives you an amazing different prespective on life!'    
  • Jasmine Tyler, age 16 - 'One of those books that leave an impact on you from the moment you open it to the time that you close it....A beautiful story of love, loss and life.'   
  • Amelia White, age 17 - 'I would really recommend it to teenage girls who think that stopping eating and getting thin is the right thing to do as it made me realise that thin isn't always the best or healthiest option.'
  • Humaira Kauser, age 19 - 'I liked this book a lot. I liked that it felt like it had a rhythm...'
  • Aimee Sweet, age 15 - 'Countless is a moving and emotional novel...'

Synopsis

Countless by Karen Gregory

'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.

Reviews

Moving and thought-provoking * Irish Times * A heart-breaking, hopeful and highly-unusual debut * Metro, Imogen Russell Williams * Countless is written with empathy and deep compassion and we could all do with more of that. * The Bookbag, Jill Murphy * Insightful, authentic and profoundly moving ...This is an important, impactful, mightily impressive debut about love, reaching out and taking one step at a time * LoveReading4Kids * Bold and brilliant * Books A Go Go * Everyone should read this * The Bibliophile Girl * An emotive story of love and choices ... easily one of the standout debuts of the year. * 100 Words or Less * I inhaled this book. I was emotionally involved from the very start and couldn't bear to put it down ... Though Countless is heartbreaking it is also full of heart, and it celebrates the power of finding your people and your self and the resilience to keep going. * Rhino Reads * The tonic for fluffy contemporaries * Heartful of Books *

About the Author

Karen Gregory

Karen Gregory has been a confirmed bookhead since early childhood. She wrote her first story about Bantra the mouse aged twelve, then put away the word processor until her first child was born, when she was overtaken by the urge to write. A graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, and a project coordinator by day, she's become adept at writing around the edges. Strong coffee and a healthy disregard for housework help. Karen lives in Wiltshire with her family. Countless is her first novel.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
384 pages

Author

Karen Gregory
More books by Karen Gregory

Publisher

Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

4th May 2017

ISBN

9781408882504

Categories


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