This is the story of an ordinary boy, aged 12, called Mark – except that he has been living with cancer since the age of five and this time the doctors are less optimistic about his treatment. So Mark decides that he is going to have one great adventure, something that he has wanted to do for a very long time. He sets off with his dog Beau in an attempt to climb Mount Rainier, without telling anyone where he is going; in fact he even lays a false trail for his family. This is about the problems that he encounters, the fears of his parents and the real conflict that his best friend Jessie feels when she guesses where he has gone.
This is a truly inspiring story about overcoming almost insurmountable odds and about how we react to people with terminal illnesses. The story is told from two perspectives: that of Mark, and then of Jessie. Despite the seriousness of the subject we are still aware that these are only children and they have all the self-confidence of youth as well as an understanding that they can’t always succeed.
Over the last few years we have had a huge number of books which deal with young people and death and I was wary about reading yet another. However I really empathised with Mark; here is a young person who does not want to be defined by his illness but wants to be seen as a person still capable of achieving something. Quite rightly his parents had been protective but they had also given him a sense of adventure and determination. The story is sensitively written and you constantly will Mark to overcome the obstacles that he faces. It is a wonderful story for ages 10+ and will be a welcome addition to school libraries as well as general reading.