Book Reviews of To the Summit

To the Summit
To the Summit
Author: Claire Rudolf Murphy
ISBN-13: 9780380795376
ISBN-10: 038079537X
Publication Date: 5/1998
Pages: 201
Reading Level: Young Adult

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Publisher: HarperTrophy
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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At 17, Sarah intends to be the youngest woman ever to climb Mount McKinley, known as Denali to the land's indigenous people. Joining her father for the high-risk effort, she also hopes to resolve her feelings about her parents' divorce, her inability to finish a recent marathon, and her move with her remarried mother to an Alaskan village. Murphy's first novel adeptly interlaces information on climbing, Denali, and winter safety into Sarah's story; some scenes have a compelling immediacy as the climbers deal with altitude, exhaustion, and harsh weather. Unfortunately, though, the action is diluted by Sarah's ruminations on the other climbers, whose types are broadly cast (a sweet fat guy, a handsome but obnoxious jerk, etc.), but never satisfactorily individualized; readers must rely on Sarah's abrupt pronouncements to understand how they are faring in her esteem. Ultimately, the persuasive physical aspects of the journey and its strong-willed heroine will appeal mostly to adventure buffs.