Sully is the best climber in his village, and he has built his identity around this accolade, but his status is under threat from newcomer Nottingham. In The Climbers, Gray explores the dynamics of growing up in a small village where his main character’s reputation as the best climber seems more important to Sully than anything else.
The arrival of a newcomer brings a fresh perspective and provides the catalyst that allows Sully to see his friends and himself through fresh eyes. Nottingham threatens Sully’s sense of self-worth and causes him to lose perspective, and risk losing his best friend.
Gray is an excellent storyteller. Throughout the narrative, he presents themes of friendship, recognition of self-worth, and how to measure success in a healthy, holistic way. He gives us a narrator who is not always likeable but who ultimately redeems himself in the eyes of the reader and himself. The pace and tone of the narrative is spot on and Gray avoids slipping into lecture mode as he guides the reader through Sully’s journey of self-discovery. The Climbers will appeal to both avid and reluctant readers.