HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Climb or Die: A Test of Survival
Author: Edward Myers
Cover Illustrator: Joe Burleson
Publisher: Montemayor Press, republished 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0786800261 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0786800267 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1932727128 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1932727124 Paperback
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 10 – 14
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Myers, Edward. Climb or Die: A Test of Survival (Published in 1994 by Hyperion Books for Children, 114 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10011). Fourteen year old Danielle Darcy, her thirteen year old brother Jake, and their parents, Phil and Jeannine, had recently moved from New Jersey to Colorado for Mr. Darcy’s new job as a construction foreman for a petrochemical company in Denver. During the summer Danielle took a two-week Mountain Mastery course. While the family is driving in their Blazer through the Rockies toward their cabin, a sudden early October blizzard causes a back-road car accident on a snowy mountain pass in which both their father and mother are seriously injured. The athletic Danielle and brainy Jake must set out together to find help.
However, the most obvious option of walking twenty miles through deep snow back to the freeway is too long, so the teens decide instead to make a bolder move by climbing Mt. Remington that Jake says is nearby and has a manned weather station at its summit. As the two head upward, Danielle and Jake soon realize that they’ve taken an all-or-nothing gamble and must climb or die. Will they make it to the top? Is the manned weather station really there? And what happens to their mother and father? There is much to be admired in this exciting adventure story of survival.
Danielle the jock shows great courage and strength with her knowledge of mountain climbing. Jake the nerd demonstrates remarkable ingenuity and problem-solving skills as he uses a smattering of tools from his dad’s toolbox to aid their climb. And setting aside their usual sibling rivalries, the two come to appreciate and trust one another as they learn how to work together to survive. Unfortunately the tale is marred by a little bit of unnecessary but almost “required” bad language which many modern writers of children’s books apparently feel that they just must include to make them “realistic.” Mr. Darcy uses the “d” word, and even thirteen year old Jake asks his sister, “What in the ‘h’ are ‘biners?” That may not seem like much to many, but it is enough to be annoying. Otherwise, I would give it five stars.