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Every Little Thing in the World Hardcover – March 23, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Friends Sydney and Natalia, both 16, are sent to a wilderness camp to canoe the waters of northern Canada for six weeks. They have secrets: Sydney is pregnant, and Natalia has just found out that her older sister, Margit, is actually her biological mother. Other campers also have secrets. Brendan, a hot TV-soap star, is hiding his sexual orientation; and on a dare the gritty, tattooed Mick reveals that he killed a man. While the campers paddle, cook, and have adventures, Sydney ponders her predicament. She didn't have much of a relationship with the unborn child's father, and at one point during the trip she contemplates sleeping with a fellow camper to dupe him into paying for an abortion. After a night of drinking, she briefly considers a belly flop as the fix. Natalia recognizes the enormity of Margit's decision to give birth as a teenager, and she extracts a promise from Sydney that she will have the baby, assuring her that she will help, but the troubled teen must ultimately make her own decision. De Gramont introduces a lot of ancillary characters, and it's doubtful that readers will care about many of them, but the story moves along at a decent pace as it examines one teen's struggle to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Critically acclaimed adult author de Gramont makes her YA debut in this novel of summer transformation. After 16-year-old Sydney learns that she is pregnant, she and her glamorous best friend, Natalia, try to track down the boy Sydney had sex with and end up in trouble with the police. Sydney keeps her secret from both her frustrated, divorced mother and her father, who ships her off to a Canadian summer camp. Natalia joins her, and as the girls paddle through the wilderness, they wrestle with Sydney’s options. Friction grows as Natalia speaks out against abortion and then begins a charged friendship with Mick, a troubled kid who uses the n-word and claims to have killed a man. The author writes with frank authenticity about teens: their inner and outer dialogues, their gradual self-awareness, and their puzzling choices, particularly about sex. The girls’ ultimate acceptance of Mick, for example, feels both realistic and unsettling. More than Sydney’s dilemma or the camp dynamics, though, it’s the parent-child relationships, both loving and fraught, that may resonate most with YAs. Grades 8-11. --Gillian Engberg
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16 year old Sydney was a wonderful main character. Mainly because she was just so real. I could understand her reactions and thoughts and I felt for her from page one. After being sent away to wilderness camp in Canada for being too rebellious, Sydney will have the experience of a lifetime. While most girls will be worried about sleeping on the ground and getting bitten by mosquitos, Sydney Biggs has something even bigger on her mind- she's pregnant.
Sydney's story was very different from any other teen pregnancy novel that I've read. Mainly because she was unsure about what she wanted to do about the baby. Have it and give it up for adoption? Or have an abortion? She was faced with many difficult decisions over the course of the story and it made things even harder that she was stuck in the woods; trying to pretend she wasn't really expecting. While her pregnancy was a key part of Every Little Thing in the World, there were still a variety of other plot points that were just as important.
I loved reading about the canoe trip. With the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and nature it sounded like an amazing experience. Best of all, Sydney's fellow adventurers were all unique and well developed characters. Her best friend, Natalia, also tagged along on the trip and readers really got to know her and her opinions on Sydney's situation. Natalia had a lot she was dealing with as well and sometimes that made her react negatively to Sydney on the trip. Their friendship was sometimes tested, but they also made lifelong friends together in Canada. Each person who was introduced on the canoeing trip made some impact on me and each of them had something more to them than met the eye.
The setting and characters really made the book that much better and the plot added to it. While the beginning was a tad slow for me, I soon fell into Sydney's world and got attached to the different characters (especially Bucket Head!).
All in all, this was a fantastic new novel by Nina de Gramont and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for her, as well as checking out some of her previous releases. If you're looking for a novel that tackles a variety of "taboo" subjects in a fresh and intriguing way, I highly recommend Every Little Thing in the World.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars