• Careless

  • By: Kirsty Capes
  • Narrated by: Amber Gadd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2022!

A Cosmopolitan, BBC, Stylist, Daily Mail, Good Housekeeping and Guardian Best Book Pick for 2021! 

Sometimes it's easy to fall between the cracks....

At 3.04 p.m. on a hot, sticky day in June, Bess finds out she's pregnant. 

She could tell her social worker Henry, but he's useless. 

She should tell her foster mother, Lisa, but she won't understand.

She really ought to tell Boy, but she hasn't spoken to him in weeks. 

Bess knows more than anyone that love doesn't come without conditions.

But this isn't a love story.... 

©2021 Kirsty Capes (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"The literary equivalent of gold dust." (Benjamin Zephaniah)

'Astounding. Heart-breaking but hopeful, and a fresh new voice." (Pandora Sykes)

"Moving and beautifully written." (Libby Page)

"Made me laugh and cry in equal measure." (Good Housekeeping)

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What listeners say about Careless

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  • sarah
  • 06-04-21

Unmissable read

I honestly was not too sure at the beginning thinking this book would be a bit young for me and more a “young Readers” book. How wrong was I. I can not fault this book one bit. From being fully immersed in to the characters like I really know them. The author has made these characters really come alive and I felt Bess’s worries , thoughts ,pain and achievements. It threw me back to when I was 15/16 and all the mixed experiences we go through. There is raw truth and honest in this book and also highlighting children in the system which rarely gets written about. I loved this book and the narrator was fantastic is expressing exactly how Bess would have felt.
Thank you

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jess
  • 05-21-21

Wonderfully written and read

The story is brilliant and Amber reads it perfectly. I would listen to it again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Brown
  • 08-03-21

Wonderful story read beautifully

Careless is a powerful look at the lived realities of young people in foster care, but most importantly it is driven by its wonderful characters. Capes writes her characters so vividly, I instantly fell in love with Bess and Eshal. The narrator is a true talent, she animates Bess' wit, her wry humour and her boldness as a character, but also Bess' insecurity, and the pain that she tries her best to conceal. She really was Bess. Amber Gadd's voice breathes so much life into the characters - the stakes feel palpable and she effortlessly captures the playfulness of Capes' writing and characters. Capes' words and Gadd's voice gel together so perfectly that I feel like Bess is a friend of mine, and I was rooting for her throughout. The characters are so well-realised and so well-performed that I caught myself smiling at something they had said, or worried about what might happen to them, while getting on with my day. Can't recommend highly enough!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-18-21

brilliantly narrated

gripped! was rooting for Bess all the way through. Narrator brought the character to life .

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  • alice
  • 08-04-22

An adult pretending to be a teenager

I struggled with Bess.. a lot, I felt she was written with a consistent character, and her language would sometimes be really mature for a 16 year old, and then other times very disconnected - using words that teenagers haven’t used in 10 years which made me cringe I.e ‘bint’. I enjoyed the parts that were less descriptive and more to the point - I loved the section when Eyshells parents accepted her - it was quick, yet descriptive and engaging. But the rest of the book I really struggled to feel as though Bess was a realistic teenager

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  • Christina McGar
  • 03-18-22

Rubbish

struggled with it and gave up, it was so depressing and boring. waste of money

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  • Tara Fakhry
  • 01-25-22

If you loved Queenie

I really enjoyed this book, I'd love to hear more from Bess in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-22-21

Can’t remember a book made me weep

An extraordinary book, beautifully written. Gut-punching raw, utterly perfect. I wish I could read it for the first time again.


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  • fmh
  • 06-23-21

Insight into the care experience

Makes you think we must do better for children
Enjoyed the story -made me sad frustrated and left me with hope for Bess for a happier future

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-26-22

I loved this book

The book opens with Bess discovering she is pregnant in a crummy takeaway toilet in the late 90s. She is 15 and in care. What follows is a visceral and emotional tale what it is to be 15/16, feel so grown but not realise how vulnerable you are until it's with benefit of hindsight.

I identified with Bess so much it hurt and not just because we are both teenagers of 90s either. Our stories are different but never the less overlap in subtle ways.

Not an easy read but a brilliant one.

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  • Alicia
  • 06-12-21

i really struggled with this book.

so many decisions bess made drove me batty. i couldn't understand how she could continue to make mistake after mistake, hiding from decisions because they were hard.

but as her story unfolded it made more sense and i understood that while for me, it didn't make sense, it made perfect sense for bess. and i realised that we all have to make our own way through life. i think I'm more like eesh and speak my mind but I've learned through the book that the world is filled with lots of people like bess and they need their journey respected and heard.

in summary - perceiver with Bess and a beautiful story will happen before your eyes