Unborn (Unborn #1), Rose Christo
Publisher: Rose Christo
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT (G), Disability
Length: 298 Pages
Kerry Thompson is not supposed to exist. Kerry Thompson was aborted nineteen years ago–and survived. Nineteen years later, Kerry contends with a myriad of health conditions and a heart full of hatred.
A stint in the hospital sees Kerry cross paths with Sahara, a quirky little girl living in the pediatric ward, and her day nurse, Daniel, whose heart is as big as his earring collection. Challenged by their offers of friendship, Kerry starts to reevaluate his outlook on life–his self-image–and just how well he understands his mother.
Have I ever felt this emotional after reading a YA book? I don’t think so. I didn’t believe Suicide Watch could be beaten, because that made me very emotional throughout, (no, I didn’t cry, but I did feel very upset after I read it) but this has actually surpassed that on my list of most emotional YA books. It’s made a lasting impression with me. And the characters and their stories, will stay with me for a long time to come.
Unborn is Kerry’s very powerful story. He is a nineteen year old boy who survived his mother’s abortion, and was left with lifelong medical problems as well as both physical and emotional scars. His mother only seems to keep him because of his disability checks, and he knows that those are what they live off of, but he doesn’t attempt to move out. Over the years, he has become angry and bitter with the world, especially his mother. And he knows she hates him, too, he lives with the proof every day of his difficult life. I found him to be such an interesting character, and I really felt for him. Nobody should have to live the life he does in this book, and no child should grow up knowing they are unwanted, unloved.
She didn’t even have the decency to give me away. She delivered me, covered in burns, choking for scant breath. She didn’t want me, but she couldn’t be assed to give me to someone who might. So she kept me. She raised me.
Made me live with a broken body. Disgusting flesh.
That’s how I know she hates me.
Kerry’s life doesn’t improve overnight, but things start to look up a bit when he ends up in the hospital after collapsing. He meets Matty, Sahara, Ram, Tim, and Daniel in the hospital, and each of them begins to change his life just a little. But it’s Sahara and Daniel who seem to make the biggest impact on him in the book. They are the people he really opens his heart to, and in return, they open their hearts to him. It’s one of the sweeter sides of the book, and it makes it slightly less depressing. I was so happy that he finally had people in his life who really cared for him, because out of every character in the story, Kerry is the one who deserved it the most.
Daniel is the love interest in this book, and he’s also a huge support to Kerry. He isn’t in it as much as a few of the other characters, but his role is just as important, and in some sense, it shows you how powerful he and Kerry are together. They’re not really friends, but something develops between them and it grows, and they share things. Daniel opens up to Kerry about the issues in his family. And Kerry seems to lean on Daniel a bit. So when things start to turn romantic, it feels very natural and there’s a beauty to their relationship that made me root for them.
Daniel grins. Sun written all over his face. Earring jangling next to his ear.
That’s my name. But this is the sun.
His face lights up. It’s enough to flood the entire night sky. He slides the keyring through one of the paperclips, laughing like he knows a secret, laughing like he can’t believe himself.
I’ve had a headache for the past nineteen years of my life.
It’s weird–but the headache’s gone now.
Then you have Sahara, the little girl who breaks into Kerry’s heart and the first person he ever really cares about. She’s only thirteen and she’s been through one of the most traumatic things a woman or girl can be put through, and not only that, but her life is left in danger because of it. But then she meets Kerry and she knows he’s someone she can trust, someone who will look after her. It’s like they become siblings, not just family.
One of the things I really adore about this book is the fact I did feel like I was with Kerry throughout his journey. You are there when he learns things and you feel a lot, sometimes more than he does, and that’s almost as heartbreaking as his past. The level of emotion in this is breathtaking and sometimes it’s overwhelming, but you get through it because you want him to overcome everything and finally find some level of happiness. You don’t want him to go back to the way his life was before the hospital, but you realize that is a possibility. I could feel myself holding my breath a few times, afraid something really bad would happen.
There is a scene at around 60%, with Kerry’s mother, that makes her seem more human. Life is complicated and people even more so, and Kerry’s mother is definitely one of those people. She’s a character I hated, and wanted to continue hating, but you have to feel a small level of sympathy for her, too. And I think that shows the talent Rose Christo has, because it takes a lot for me to feel sympathy for a very unlikable character. And that flows over into the ending, which is more hopeful than I would have thought. It’s not a HEA, with Kerry sailing off into the sunset, happy forever. But the ending is hopeful and it made me feel like I could finally breathe again.