Wow. I was blown away by the beauty of this book. de Gramont is a gifted writer who so eloquently captures the thoughts of a 16-year-old pregnant girl amidst the backdrop of the beautiful Canadian wilderness.
The cover of this book does it such an injustice. It looks like some flakey teen romance which it is anything but. When we meet Sidney, she is a 16-year-old in trouble; a girl who has recently found out she is pregnant due to a fling she had with a boy from the "wrong side of the tracks." Her mother is tired of her rebellion (although she does not know about the pregnancy) and sends her to live with her father and her step-mother for a few weeks. Her father decides that Sidney needs some time away and sends her to the remote Canadian wilderness to take part in a rustic 4-week canoe trip. What follows is a coming-of-age story in which Sidney comes to terms with what she has done, where her life is headed and how she is going to confront the secret that only she and her best friend, Natalia, know about.
I loved the language in this book and how Sidney grows and matures as the story progresses. At first I thought "if I were pregnant at 16, I would be freaking out - how can Sidney be so calm?" But I see now that she knows exactly what she is going to do from the start and her personality is a lot calmer than that of those around her. Throughout the story, she struggles with her decision, particularly because of Natalia's influence. But in the end, she comes to terms with her decision and moves ahead, just as most teen girls would do. I liked the honesty in this book and how de Gramont does not necessarily shove one choice or the other down the reader's throat. All alternatives are looked at in respectful ways and in the end, Sidney chooses the option best for her.
The imagery in this book is lovely. It makes me want to travel to the Canadian wilderness with just a backpack and a canoe.