It’s like I had Ben K. King’s “Stand By Me” playing in my mind as I read every word of A W Hudson’s coming-of-age novel “Everest.” It’s very, very hard for an author to not come across as twee when depicting teenage lust and longing, but A W Hudson does a fine job here.
The setting could be any private school, but in “Everest”, it is set at Aston Hall School – boys only. David Malek, the books coming-of-ager, is angry and confused and, well, a fairly typical sixteen-year-old boy. He butts heads with the schools principal, Mr. Chambers, and often daydreams when he is out of the school and in the forays of real life.
What would a teenage coming-of-age story be without a love interest? In this case, Megan Harris fills the role perfectly. A rich kid by all means, she acts as the catalyst to David’s ascension towards adulthood. Along the way, though, David must exert his independence from his school mates and confront the strangest grudge held against him by a former confidante.
He makes it out of the school, though, and we all know this won’t end well. Bad things happen, as they naturally would to a naive and bellicose boy, but they are also experiences that he must endure to truly mature.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that the author channels some major Holden Cauffield-ness in his presentation of a teenage bender. It’s an accurate and interesting read, bringing emotions to the forefront that have long since gone dormant. The novel succeeds at the thematic undercurrent of fate and happenstance, and manages to present a world where it’s the resilience of youth that saves the day.