Title: The Contest214684.Sch.Everst_Bk1_0.tif
Author: Gordon Korman
Pages: 137
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Book one in Gordon Korman’s Everest series.

The Story.

More than anything else, Dominic Alexis wants to qualify for SummitQuest. His brother, Christian, qualified automatically – after all, he is the number two-rated ‘under sixteen’ mountain climber in the country. But Dominic’s only chance to get in is to snag one of the wild card slots offered by Summit – if he doesn’t make it, all of his dreams to conquer Everest are so much dust.

Miraculously, Dominic makes it into camp. But he isn’t the only one hoping, wishing – even praying – to qualify for the Everest team. Can Dominic, surrounded as he is by experienced climbers, ever hope to make it to Everest?

Discussion.

Of course, Dominic does make it onto the Everest team. But it isn’t an easy job – there are over a dozen other teenagers at the camp with him, and all of them are vying for the top four places. Amongst that number are a variety of different personalities – kids who are hardworking and likeable, sone who are pressure-driven and stressed, and some who are outright brats. As more climbers get cut and the camp narrows down to the best of the best, tempers flare and fights break out. In the end, interesting choices are made concerning who will and will not be on the Everest Quest.

This story wasn’t quite a “survival story” – that’s coming in book two. It was more like a “training-to-survive” story. And to tell the truth, I really enjoyed it. It read a bit like fan fiction – like the author wished he could have run away on this kind of wild adventure himself as a kid and was writing the story as a tribute to that desire – but other than that, it was an interesting story. The kids have to exhibit real skills and learn a lot as they struggle to balance their immature emotions with the very adult amount of responsibility that is placed on each of them.

When vandalism is detected, the instructors sarcastically say that unless it was done by a poltergeist, the students are responsible. Christian brings about a vial of Dead Sea sand for good luck.

One of the students refers to her boyfriend back at home. There are quite a few references to the rear end – getting up off it, kicking it, etc.

“God’s sake” is used twice as an exclamation.

Conclusion. A modern feeling story, but also an interesting one.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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