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Sydney the "good kid" is pregnant.
In the wilds of Canada--where the girls are to spend the next four weeks canoeing, camping, and foraging for food--time is ticking, because Sydney isn't sure what she wants to do about this baby. And she certainly isn't expecting the other heady issues that will confront her as she forges friendships with her adventure mates, including a guy who makes it no secret that he is a major thug, and a teen television heartthrob with a secret of his own, not to mention her own best friend--who is very adamant about what Sydney should do.
"Every Little Thing in the World" introduces a luminous new young-adult voice by the author of the critically acclaimed book for adults "Gossip of the Starlings."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 54.
- Review Date: 2010-03-01
- Reviewer: Staff
Sixteen-year-old Sydney has just learned that a casual fling has left her pregnant (“I hadn't felt like I knew him well enough to remind him about the condom issue”). When Sydney's best friend Natalia steals her mother's car to take Sydney to confront the father, the girls are caught, and Sydney's father signs Sydney up for a one-month canoe trip to help her rethink her life's direction. And Sydney does plenty of thinking, even after Natalia finagles her way onto the wilderness trip, which comes with some physical and emotional highs and lows. Sydney's turmoil about the pregnancy (she's kept it from her parents and plans to have an abortion when she returns) is realistic and well plotted; she faces added pressure from Natalia who, after revelations about her own birth circumstances, partly sees herself in Sydney's baby. Sydney's complex relationships with her single mother and idealistic but distant father are authentic and poignant. In her first novel for teens, de Gramont ably captures Sydney's reflective journey from a passive girl to a young woman ready to make the biggest decision of her life. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)
Mistakes and consequences
Sixteen-year-old Sydney Biggs is a girl in trouble and then some: not just pregnant, but grounded with good cause. When best bud Natalia “borrows” her mom’s car, it’s just to drive Sydney to inform the father-to-be, Tommy. But the car is reported stolen, and both girls are taken home by the police. It’s the last straw for Sydney’s mother; she turns Syd over to her father’s care for the summer, and he enrolls her in a wilderness camp, which Natalia ends up attending as well.
In Every Little Thing in the World, Nina de Gramont has given terrific authenticity and freshness to a common story and a setting rife with potential clichés. Syd’s parents are both so wrapped up in their own concerns that she needs to rely on friends and fellow campers to help decide what to do. But the summer will strain her friendship with Natalia to the breaking point, as revelations about Natalia’s own home life force her to rethink the meanings of “life” and “choice.”
Sydney is a great narrator, self-aware about her position in the social food chain and frank about her mistakes. (After losing her virginity to a long-term boyfriend with whom she practiced safe sex consistently, she slept with Tommy, as she says, “not because I especially liked him, but because I was flattered by how much he liked me.”) It’s easy to root for her to make a decision that will bring her some peace and self-preservation, and this smart and thought-provoking book doesn’t shy away from the consequences of each choice.