Every Single Second
by Tricia Springstubb
published by Balzer and Bray
publishing June 7, 2016
Every Single Second is told in alternating chapters, going from "now" to "then". We meet Nella, our main character, and her large family. In the "then" chapters we learn how Nella and Angela became "secret sisters". How Nella enjoyed being with Angela and her big brother, who was also their protector, Anthony. How being with them was an escape from her large family where other than her mom, Nella is the only girl. As the chapters go on, we learn that Angela's family is far from perfect - her father is a war vet that has undiagnosed PTSD and her mom has deserted the family. Anthony is the family member that is there for Angela, and therefore Nella. Nella tries to escape the craziness of her family - both at home and when she has to be with her great-grandmother, Nonni - by hanging out with Angela and Anthony as much as possible. But once Nella learns a big family secret, instead of it bringing her closer to Angela, it starts to drive them apart.
Enter the "now" chapters, where Nella is friends with Clem, someone who is about as opposite of Angela as can be. Clem is anxiously counting down to the "leap second", the extra second that is being added to the world clock. But how fast is a second? What decisions can be made in a second? Can you ever take back a decision that is made in a second? Those questions are asked as Nella's worlds collide in a moment when everything goes wrong. The big current issue of racism, is explored but on a middle grade level.
This is a story about family and friendship. Religion is discussed. Big issues explored. Important questions asked. Readers who are looking for realistic fiction that looks to answer some big questions will enjoy this book. I applaud Tricia Springstubb for attacking tough subjects for middle grade readers. This book will be important for kids. I hope discussions occur as a result.