Countless: Teen Pregnancy, Anorexia and All of the Feels


United By Pop received a free copy of Countless by Karen Gregory in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Title: Countless

Author: Karen Gregory

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 4/5

Great for: Fans of Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson and Nicola Yoon.

Themes: Contemporary, young adult, coming-of-age, love, mental illness, anorexia, pregnancy, family dynamics.

Review: ‘Countless’ is a contemporary YA with a difference. There is little romance. There is no magic cure for the problems that arise. The protagonist is no special little snowflake.

This is a very real and very raw portrayal of a very real issue. It battles mental health, family dynamics, social stigmas and self-image in one poignant story. Nothing is romanticised or sugar-coated and Gregory, instead, simply delivers one of the most poignant and painful reads I have ever experienced. I am already so thankful for this book for all it has taught me.

Meet Hedda: she is a teenager, she lives alone, she suffers from anorexia. She is pregnant. Her life of measurements and numbers is about to be overthrown by a crying, screaming bundle she didn’t factor into her equations. But, as Hedda soon discovers, life isn’t about control and precision. Life is about chaos and creativity. And these are things that numbers can’t quantify.

Hedda proved herself to be a heartbreaking protagonist. She was distant with others and protected herself within carefully constructed walls of aloofness and detachment. It was interesting to be allowed this close perspective that others in her life were denied.

It was also immediately evident that these walls hid a very afraid and a very lost, little girl. The raw emotion exhibited from this character were what compelled me to read this. The author managed to create an authentic character who exhibited genuine feelings that were then mirrored by the reader.

But as well as being an emotional read, this was also an inspiring one. The triggering subject matters and the dark topics the story dwells on were belied by the blossoming of hope. From the beds of despair and from the toil through the most distressing of hardships grew hope, ambition and faith, proving that human resilience may wilt, but it will never die.

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