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Peak Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152062688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152062682
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up—In this high-altitude adventure, 14-year-old Peak Marcello's passion for climbing is clearly in the genes, but when he is arrested for scaling tall buildings, his mom and stepdad make a deal with the judge to ship him out of the country to live with her ex-husband and squelch the media attention that might inspire "Spider Boy" copycats. The teen's father, Josh, and his Himalayan expedition company are preparing teams to climb Mount Everest and suddenly Peak is faced with the possibility of becoming the youngest climber to reach the summit. Excited about the adventure, he learns that Josh may have less-than-fatherly motives involving publicity and financial gain for his company, at the expense of his paying customers. Peak is handed off to his father's head Sherpa for training and altitude acclimation with a Nepalese boy his own age, named Sun-jo. At the same time, a media crew gathers at base camp to witness the climb, and an overzealous Chinese police captain doggedly searches for passport violations and underage climbers. Facts about Mount Everest, base camps, and the dangers of climbing are plentiful, depicting an international culture made up of individuals who are often self-absorbed and indifferent to the Tibetan Sherpas, who risk their lives for them. Peak's empathy for Sun-jo helps him make a critical decision as they near the summit, revealing his emotional growth and maturity. A well-crafted plot and exotic setting give the novel great appeal to survival adventure fans.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Fourteen-year-old New Yorker Peak ("It could have been worse. My parents could have named me Glacier, or Abyss, or Crampon.") Marcello hones his climbing skills by scaling skyscrapers. After Peak is caught climbing the Woolworth Building, an angry judge gives him probation, with an understanding that Peak will leave New York and live with his famous mountaineer father in Thailand. Peak soon learns, however, that his father has other plans for him; he hopes that Peak will become the youngest person to climb Mt. Everest. Peak is whisked off to Tibet and finds himself in the complex world of an Everest base camp, where large amounts of money are at stake and climbing operations offer people an often-deadly shot at the summit. This is a thrilling, multifaceted adventure story. Smith includes plenty of mountaineering facts told in vivid detail (particularly creepy is his description of the frozen corpses that litter the mountain). But he also explores other issues, such as the selfishness that nearly always accompanies the intensely single-minded. A winner at every level. For more mountaineering adventures, suggest Edward Meyers' Climb or Die (1994) and Michael Dahl's The Viking Claw (2001), both for a slightly younger audience. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Roland Smith is a former zookeeper and leading expert on red wolves as well as an author. He lives on a small farm near Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

I loved this book so I gave it a 5 out of 5 stars.
K. Mantych
I thought this book was very well written, an amazing background story, and amazing details!
AJ»T
Well, Peak Marcello is going to be the youngest person to climb Mount Everest.
Dave S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered what inspires people to climb mountains? What drives some to the highest peaks? Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello was born to climb. Born to a couple of dedicated "rock rats," Peak has climbing in his blood.

Peak's parents are divorced. He hasn't heard from his father for years. Suddenly, after being arrested for illegally climbing a skyscraper, Peak finds himself on his way to Kathmandu to join his dad, famous climber, Joshua Wood.

Forced to leave his mother, stepfather, and half-sisters behind, Peak has mixed feelings about the trip. It means spending time in some of the best climbing territory in the world. It also means spending time with a man who never answered his letters or bothered to get to know his own son.

Once Peak arrives in the neighborhood of Mt. Everest, the real plan becomes evident. Joshua Wood runs an adventure/expedition company struggling to make ends meet. Taking the youngest ever person to the summit of Mt. Everest would assure the continued success of his company. Peak is just the fourteen year old for the job. Can he survive the brutal conditions and make it to the top? Will his father be able to protect him from the foreign authorities who have other ideas about who should be allowed to climb in their country?

Peak Marcello is about to have the adventure of a lifetime. His mental as well as physical strength will be tested, and what is truly important in life will be revealed.

Roland Smith, well-known for his adventure books, provides another great story for his fans. The struggle to survive on Mt. Everest, in addition to the thrilling attempt to reach its summit, makes for some fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat reading. I recommend PEAK for any teen collection.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the book Peak, Roland Smith tells a realistic fiction story about a fourteen-year-old boy who gets a chance to summit Mt. Everest. But, when Peak gets up to Base Camp he discovers the good and bad sides to this climb.
The story begins with Peak at home in New York where he attends a special school called GSS. They don't specialize in climbing though. Eventually, he discovers another talent, writing. So his new English teacher gives him an assignment to write in moleskin journals about anything interesting in his life. Then his desire to climb gets him into a lot of trouble with the law. So his mom and step dad, make a bargain with the law, which includes going to live with his father who is a well-known professional climber. So he sets off to Nepal with his dad, and learns more about climbing, family history and to appreciate his step dad and sisters.
Also on this thrilling adventure, he gets to know many people other than his dad Sun jo a Nepalese boy who's grandfather Zopa is accompanying them up to Base Camp. Another climber, Holly Anglo who is a reporter who wants to tell the story bout the youngest person ever to summit Everest. Which if everything goes okay then that will be Peak.
Zopa is trying to hide Sun jo on the Tibetan side of the mountain with a crazy Captain Shek who is after illegal climbers. Shek is constantly trying to find Sun jo and deport him to Nepal.
On top of all his discoveries there are so many obstacles on the mountain itself than Peak can imagine. He and Sun jo must help each other make it to the top. Their biggest problem though is the oxygen. There isn't any. The higher they go there is less oxygen and more breath taking obstacles and sights there are.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Robinson on December 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Peak is a coming-of-age story that avoids being preachy, contrived, or formulaic. Its lively first-person narrative also incorporates authentic detail and climbing terminology without seeming flooded with jargon. Terms and descriptions are clearly articulated but do not detract from the humanity of the protagonist and the different events and decisions that pull him up Mt. Everest. A young adult novel, the book would also be an good read for motivated elementary students and was just as engaging for me. Put briefly, I like it.

P.S. The protagonist is on the cusp of his 15th birthday (a significant detail in the plot). The level of writing is surely beyond what most modern 15-year-olds produce, but wouldn't it be nice if it could be a motivation for adolescent readers to want to be good writers?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Miner5000 on December 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
My 10-year-old son bought this book at a book fair at his school. I was doubtful that he would ever read it, since it has no illustrations (except for a map of the mountain) and has nothing to do with basketball or baseball, my son's usual interests. However, he loved it and read it all quite quickly. He recommended it to me, so I read it too. It is an excellent book for anyone over age 9 or so, adult or kid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beverly L. Archer VINE VOICE on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peak by Roland Smith

From the back of the book:

For a climber, saying that you are stopping by Everest is like saying you are stopping by to see God.

When fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello's long-lost father presents the opportunity for them to summit Everest together, Peak doesn'te ven consider saying no -- even though he suspects there are few strings attached. And if he makes it to the top before his birthday, he'll be the youngest person ever to stand above 29,000 feet. It's not a bad turn of events for a guy who's been stuck in New York City with only sky-scrapers to (illegally) scale.

This is a great "guy" read, though I believe female readers will enjoy it as well.

Peak was considered and rejected for the 2011-2012 Pikes Peak Battle of the Books List. Now that I've had a chance to read the book, I think it is a shame that it was not added to the list.

What I liked about the book: The adventure. Smith has created a well plotted story with lots of spine tingling thrills. The story also contains messages about facing the consequences of your actions and making sacrifices for others. The messages are clear, but not presented in an overbearing manner. Young readers don't mind having a message in their reading, they just don't like to be hit over the head with it. I like that the story is told in Peak's voice. It helps pull the reader into the story.

What I didn't like about this book: I liked it all, but to be honest - I started reading this book with the preconceived notion that I would not like it. A colleague had read the book and was insistent that it is not suitable for 5th graders. However, the book appears on several 5th grade reading lists. I usually try to read books with an open mind.
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