Published by Entangled: Embrace on February 19, 2018
Source: the publisher
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Twenty-year-old Emily Winslowe has had an adventurous upbringing. Daughter of a Himalayan mountain guide, she has climbed Mount Everest and other peaks most Americans only dream of. But for all her mountaineering prowess, she's lacking some key experiences. Namely, guys. Especially one guy in particular—Luke Norgay, her childhood best friend who she hasn't seen since he left for college in the United States two years ago.
Luke unexpectedly reappears as a guide just in time for the Everest climbing season. He's even more handsome than she remembers, and that something that had been building between them during their last season together is back in front of them, bigger than ever.
The problem is, there's a detail about Emily's past that Luke doesn't know. It's the reason she ended up in the Himalayas in the first place...and the reason she must make it to the summit of Mount Everest this year. It's also the reason she would never consider following him back to Washington after the climbing season ends.
But first, they'll have to survive the mountain.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
OH MY GOSH. How much did I love this book? I loved it so, so much.
You guys may not realize how much I love reading about mountaineering and Mount Everest and the Himalayas. I have been obsessed with climbing for ages and I’ve read and watched a ton of mountaineering stuff since way back in my high school and college years.
When I saw Leaving Everest by Megan Westfield, I *needed* to read it.
Emily has spent a chunk of her childhood among the tallest mountains in the world, having grown up with her father – a world-famous climber. She has a bit of a mixed-up childhood, but she has found her place among the beautiful peaks of the world’s tallest mountains. She also found her best friend there. Luke and Emily have known one another for over a decade, having grown and nurtured their friendship outside of America, in the mountains near Everest. This summer, things are about to change. Emily doesn’t know that they both are back at Everest for the summer – both planning to summit the mountain – and when she is near him after two solid years of only communicating via social media, she can barely speak or see straight. She wonders if he may possibly feel the same about her, but she is almost too nervous to talk to him about it. SURELY after spending two years back in America for college, among beautiful people and “real” civilization, he can’t possibly be interested in her, right?
There is so much that I love about this story. YES, I love the slowly-building romance between Emily and Luke. Based-on-friendship, BFF-romances are some of my favorites. But what made this book most wonderful to me is that this romance is against the backdrop of Everest, while they’re both separately trying for the summit, and that they try to keep the romance secret while on the mountain. The setting is absolutely magical.
I love these characters and their backstories, and I love the secondary cast that is around them. I only want more of these people after reading this. And more of the mountains.
I super-slightly wish I would have known Emily’s complete backstory sooner. As it is, her story is revealed in small pieces throughout the story. It certainly didn’t lessen my love for Emily’s story, but I was aware that I know little about her until that moment when I finally knew the why and the what that led her to where she is.
Also, it looks like Megan Westfield’s other standalone story – Lessons in Gravity – has a few of the characters from this book, so I’m DYING DYING DYING to go back and read that one now. I don’t think that I’ve missed out on anything by not reading Megan’s other book since they’re standalones with different settings, but I love the characters in Leaving Everest so much that I want to know as much as possible about any of them that are featured anywhere. Plus, there is more climbing and I’m here for that! I definitely want to go back and read her other book.
This story was so easy to read and visualize and enjoy. If you love mountaineering, you’ll love it. If you love mountain settings, you’ll love this one. If you love friends-to-romance stories, you’ll love this one. I’ll be rereading this one when I’m in the mood for a story that has adventure, sport, and climbing.
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Thank you so much for your lovely review of Leaving Everest! I wrote this book for armchair Himalayan mountaineering fanatics like you and me, so I’m totally swooning that you enjoyed it. I’m excited to hear what you think of Lessons in Gravity. In addition to Josh and April, you’ll get to see more of Theo, too. 🙂 –Megan