Genre: Sports/Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 264
Pip McLeod hates it when his dad comes to his soccer games because he yells the entire time. He yells from the sidelines about every call, every play, and every score. When a talent scout for a more competitive league comes to the game Pip tries hard to do his best and has a good game, but when the scout does not choose to talk to him he has to hear about all of his mistakes all the way home. Pip has had it and no longer even likes to play. His older brother, Nick, is a great player and chosen for the elite team, which doesn’t help Pip’s feelings of failure. One day on his way home he sees that the new sports complex has a door propped open and he finds himself wandering in. He notices a big room with walls for indoor climbing and feels drawn to it. After trying a little climbing on his own, he realizes that this is something he loves to do. The problem is how to tell his parents he wants to do this and how to pay for lessons when they are on a very tight budget. In the end, Pip (who becomes Phil around the other climbers) must do what he needs to do in order to challenge himself and put himself into a more positive environment than he is used to, which means entering a very challenging competition to prove he has what it takes to be a superior climber.
For anyone who likes sports or climbing stories this is a good story. There are not that many books about climbing, especially indoor climbing, which makes this story interesting. Pip’s struggles with his family, friends, and even himself are all somewhat relieved once he starts climbing. Communication is a big issue in this story as Pip and his father fail to communicate their true feelings to each other and instead let the tension and anger build and fester. Many readers will be able to identify with Pip in some way.