Mount Everest is Mecca for all serious climbers; an opportunity to climb to a high camp on its slopes is as good as a summit attempt for many. Location and weather are the two biggest obstacles to overcome for such an adventure, and money can only help with one of them. The teenage protagonist of this tale has a biological father whom he has never met, and that man is a world-famous mountain climber. When the young man is facing a judge for inappropriate use of his climbing skills, he is reunited with his natural father and whisked off to Nepal to join a Himalayan expedition already in progress.
Smith is a master of the first-person voice, and his point of view as a young teen is sharp and believable. His descriptions of climbing equipment and techniques are easily understood for any reader, experienced or not. One can sometimes actually feel the cold weather as the writer tells us about the trek through the mountains and up the glaciers.
I did not think much of a couple of plot events; in fact, the entire story of how the teenager leaves the country is pretty far-fetched, and, in my opinion, borderline lame. Even though the kid is not meant to be a true delinquent, he seems to get off pretty easy considering how he ends up in the court system in the first place.
Once the story reaches Asia, however, it develops into a true page-turner and is a lot of fun to read. The development of the father character is very well done, and not as predictable as it appears. Very little ink is expended on the social aspects of the story, which I thought was too bad. Talented writers have the ability to discuss certain issues from which I believe their target audience would benefit, rather than just another adventure story.
Rated: Mild. Three mild swear words amid a half-dozen typical teen terms for body parts and functions.