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.