Above All Else

Dana Alison Levy. Charlesbridge Teen, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-62354-140-8
In her YA debut, children’s author Levy (It Wasn’t Me) offers a nail-biting adventure set in Nepal, where two recent high school graduates prepare for “the ultimate goal”: climbing Mount Everest. Californians Rose and Tate, best friends and long-time climbing partners, have been dreaming about this trip for years, but conditions have changed now that their goal is within reach. Rose is making the climb not just for herself, but also for her Puerto Rican mother, who has been diagnosed with MS and can’t accompany the teens as planned. Tate has had doubts about this journey after nearly losing his life on the duo’s last expedition, to Mount Rainier. Still, he wants to prove he’s not the “Master of Disaster,” like his father thinks, and be with Rose, with whom he’s in love. Written from the protagonists’ alternating viewpoints, the book’s main focus is not on the climb itself, but the teens’ changing emotions, vulnerabilities, and profound realizations as they face the dangers ahead during training. Levy skillfully shows the sharp contrast between the experiences of the disadvantaged Sherpa guides, who risk their lives to get paid, and the privileged tourists paying thousands for a thrill, and draws on all five senses to bring Nepal’s splendor to life. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/10/2020
Release date: 10/13/2020
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-63289-913-2
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