Author: Nina de Gramont
Genre: YA fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Sixteen-year-old Sydney Biggs is a "good kid"--smart, pretty, self-aware. No one doubts that she'll go far in life. But lately her mother worries that Sydney is wandering down the wrong path and getting all caught up in petty teenage rebellion and shenanigans. When Sydney and her best friend, Natalia, "borrow" a car to go to a party and then get escorted home by the police, their parents pack them up and ship them off to a hard-love wilderness camp to stop this behavior before it gets out of hand, before things go too far. The problem is, they already have.
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.
Review: I haven't seen much about this book on the blogs I read, but I must have seen enough to order it for my library. It wasn't really on my radar when one of our students checked it out. I did my usual "Let me know what you think of it when you're finished" figuring she wouldn't. Wrong! She brought it back the next day and raved about it. So, I checked it out and finished it in 2 days. I really liked it!
- Characters--The characters de Gramont created are very real. Sydney is a "normal" sixteen-year-old who happens to have made a major mistake. She is sure that she knows how to fix it (have an abortion), but during her time at wilderness camp begins to think otherwise. The supporting cast is also a great mix of teenagers, each dealing with their own issues. But, like camp does, this one brings together people who wouldn't necessarily get along in the real word and makes them rely on one another, get along, and learn something about themselves at the same time
- Plot--While reading this book I kept having flashbacks to my summer spent at French Camp on Canoe Island in the San Juan Islands, WA. What an amazing summer! Like Sydney I had experiences I would never forget (canoeing, cliff jumping, crushes, hiking, getting dirtier than I could imagine and not caring, etc). de Gramont captured the wilderness of Canada, camp, teen friendships, scary stuff, and more with grace, good writing, and a great plot.
The issue of Sydney's pregnancy is ever-present in the book. What should she do? What is morally right? How would her life change if she had a baby? Would she really be able to give it up for adoption or would she want to keep it? What if she had an abortion? There is no judgement as the debate rages between Sydney and her friend Natalia and within Sydney's own thoughts.
PS. I just looked up French Camp and discovered they do family weekends! I love the San Juan Islands area and have been meaning to spend a short vacation there with my daughter... hmmmmmm. The wheels are spinning. I wonder how strange it would be to return to a summer camp as an adult.