The settings of Gordon Korman's three adventure trilogies - Everest, Dive, and Island - go from the tallest peaks to the deepest seas, but the action and page-turning suspense stay in one place. High.
The prologue of Everest Book One: The Contest, takes place at a funeral. A normal funeral, save one detail. The body is missing. Not missing, exactly. Everyone knows the body has remained on Mount Everest for an eternal frozen rest. But readers don't know who, and as more characters are introduced, a cast of kids each seeking to be the youngest to summit Everest, the tension and suspicion mounts as to whom it may be. Readers are slowly introduced to the supplies, skills, and demands of mountain climbing. Then, as the extremes of Everest are explained, readers see why summiting Everest isn't a kid's game.
Dive Book One: The Discovery begins with a flashback to 1665 and the sinking of the Griffin. Sinking with the ship is "a fortune that would have turned the head of the king himself." Then it's Chapter One and off to the present were we meet Kaz, the first of 4 main characters, on a catamaran bobbing - where else? - in the same Caribbean Sea where the Griffin went down. As the 4 kids, each with differing levels of experience, get accustomed to diving together, they learn that they are involved in more than a memorable summer experience. They are being used in dangerous mission by dangerous people in a quest for - what else? - the Griffin's treasure. So they decide that rather than be used by iniquitous adults, they'd simply beat the grown-ups to it.
The Island Trilogy is a kids' version of Survivor, minus the $1 million. Six kids are sent to Charting a New Course. The reasons are all different except that the reasons are all disciplinary. The discipline, demands, and hard work of being the Phoenix's crew will change any problem child into a model citizen. Or so the theory goes. When these six problems find themselves alone and sinking, what little they've leaned about survival and teamwork is put to the test as they must survive on a deserted island. Throw in a case of amnesia, do-it-yourself surgery, drug smugglers, and some World War II Pacific island history, and the excitement never ceases.
Korman has said that his research wrote the books. The books are accurate, whether it be mountain climbing, scuba diving, or sailing or the dangers involved with each. His research is evident, but readers must pay attention to the details or risk missing a nugget needed to fully understand a world they may only experience through books. All readers will enjoy the action, but those willing to put in the effort to get the little stuff will be extremely satisfied.