I had my doubts about Gordon Korman's Schooled. Boy raised on commune with no experience in a modern middle school suddenly thrust into one. Ooooh. Train wreck. But it was surprisingly good and funny, which I should have expected, because Korman is about the best there is when it comes to writing humor. He's also great at suspense and adventure. Shouldn't have doubted for a moment!
Roland Smith's Peak was fabulous. Can't say I ever really wanted to climb Mt. Everest, but this was a good vicarious experience. Lots of details about climbing, lots of ...cliff-hangers. Okay, bad I know. Loved the familial interplay, and everyone's sneaky motivations. Exquisite. Will recommend to everyone.
Another surprisingly good book-- Rune Michaels' Genesis Alpha. Surprised because she is an Icelandic author, and I've weeded a LOT of stuff "translated from the Russian"-- this was apparently written in English. Starts with an online game scenario, so will drag reluctant readers in, and then turns into a very complex mystery and psychological thriller. Great cover-- more of this foil, abstract stuff with cool typefaces that will not date as much as somewhat poorly drawn pictures of people.