________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 27 . . . . March 16, 2012


The Contest. (Everest Book One).

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2002.
137 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-39232-7.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Cap Cicero was screaming now. “You want me to do what?"

Tony Devlin tried to be calm. “When Ethan Zaph quit the expedition, we lost our star, the guy who was going to draw attention to our team. The only way to regain that spotlight is to break his record -- to summit a kid even younger. Or the youngest girl. Or both.”

“All right,” said Cicero. “If anybody has a chance, Bryn does. She’s Himalayan quality.”

“We need a sure thing,” Devlin insisted. “Or as close to it as we can get. We have to pack that team with home runs.”

“I’ll take Sammi Moon in Zaph’s spot,” agreed Cicero. “I didn’t really want to cut her anyway.”

“What about Tilt Crowley?” asked Devlin. “He’s a guaranteed record.

“He’s like a guaranteed head case,” Cicero shot back. “We live in close quarters up there. A disruption can be death- and I’m not speaking figuratively.”

The Contest, first published in 2002, is the first book in the “Everest” trilogy. Forty-seven-year-old Cap Cicero is the team leader for SummitQuest, an event that is being sponsored for the wrong reasons. He has been asked to take a team of young Alpinists to the top of Everest. Many of the open spots will be filled by experts, but there are spaces for “wild card” winners. Competing for the openings are two athletic brothers, a loud-mouth nicknamed Tilt, a secret sleepwalker, a rich, inexperienced climber, and Sammi, a 15-year-old with a bad attitude. The candidates train hard in Colorado where the six-hour hikes, rope climbing, and weightlifting build up their strength and stamina for Everest. Korman adds suspense by hinting there may be a vandal or spy in the group. Rooms are being trashed, and gossip is being sent to the media. Reading about the dangers of climbing Everest and the facts surrounding a climb past the 'Death Zone' add plausible drama to the story. The story takes a surprising turn when the final choices for the team are modified. The characters the readers were likely rooting for are gone; replaced by the person who seems likely to become the biggest problem for the team.

     The Contest, which has an attractive new cover, will appeal to male and female readers who have enjoyed Korman’s other adventure stories, such as “Titanic”, “Kidnapped”, “Dive” and “Island”.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian with the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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