28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2007
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"
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2007
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
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?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2007
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2009
Do you like books that keep you screaming for more?Than the book Peak by
Roland Smith is a book for you. This book is about a boy named Peak who is a mountain climber in training. It all starts when Peak gets sent to a juvenile detention center. Then his father has to come in to the courtroom and see what Peak is in trouble this time. The judge tells Peak and his dad that Peak is sentenced to stay with his father in Thailand to make sure he don't get in any more trouble. "You have got to read this book, it drew me in from the start."
Josh a.k.a Peak's dad,is a mountain climber himself that has more experience than Peak. Josh owns a company in Thailand and since Peak has to stay with his dad Peak is dragged along with his dad at Thailand. Josh is a important character to this book because allot of the action comes from him, and if he was never in this this story than Peak and his dad would never get so close. Ralph is Peaks step dad and Peak does not like him one bit!
Peak is a book full of heart stopping events, and good details. What I about this book is that it has good characters, interesting events like when Peak broke the law by climbing up that skyscraper, and he had to pay the price and go to a courtroom to settle everything and when it's all settled in the courtroom Peak is sentenced to stay with his father in Thailand. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes heart stopping books. This book is a must read for any age.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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. I almost didn't read this book because my colleague was seemed so certain about it. There is one line in the book that she felt was too mature for fifth graders. Though I agree that that particular line does not add to the story, I also feel that I would have never noticed it if I hadn't been looking for it. I rather doubt the 5th graders noticed either.
I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy adventure stories. It would be an excellent read for a guy's book club as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Roland Smith's Everest adventure story, reading like a low-calorie version of Jon Krakauer's bestseller INTO THIN AIR, is sure to please the YA crowd, whether they are climbers real or vicarious. The 14-year-old protagonist, Peak Marcello, is the son of divorced climbers and finds himself switching from living with mom to living with dad when he must escape the US for a crime he commits in the opening pages (hint: think King Kong). His dad, Joshua Wood, is an expert climber and leads expeditions of rich folks up Everest for a living. From this, you can see how Peak winds up climbing the biggest peak in the world (much to Mom's dismay!).
For characterization, the novel features plenty of father-son moments as well as a steal-the-show lesser character named Zopa. A supposed monk, the wise Nepalese Zopa has summited Everest more than once and brings his grandson, Sun-jo, along, which sets up a competition between the boys to see who will become the youngest person ever to reach the Top of the World. In addition to the action and the insight into Sherpas, readers will pick up a lot of information on what it's like to live (and die) in the dangerous "sport" of mountain climbing. To spice it up even more, Smith throws in overzealous Chinese soldiers who hector climbers and demand to see everyone's "papers" (perfect timing in these days of the China Olympics). Though recommended for boys of any age, this novel would be equally pleasing to girls with a taste for outdoor adventure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
Peak Marcello has inherited his parents love for climbing. Unfortunately all Peak has to climb are New York skyscrapers. While illegally climbing the side of a skyscraper he gets arrested. He has two options: go to Juvenile Detention or go with his long-lost father. I would recommend this book to people who love adventure and if you like climbing. This book keeps you wanting to know what happens next. In other words there is a lot of suspense. Peak learns about perseverance, sacrifice, and other lessons in life. I am not a climber but in the book all the climbing terms are explained and they prepare you for in case you plan on going on a climbing expedition sometime in the future. I would not recommend this book to young children because it may give them the idea to climb a skyscraper (useful piece of information.) Overall I enjoyed reading this book and I think you will too.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
About a year ago i had to read this book for my middle school battle of the books competion. After no one else on my team volunteered to read it i said i would. I was instantly thrown into a gripping world of the people that are inspired to climb. if you ever wondered why people risk their lives to get to the top of a moutatin this book is for you. Even if this does not seem like your type of book you should still try it because i did not think i was going to like it either. This book is for everyone with hopes and dreams. I highly recomend it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2009
Coming into reading Peak, I was sick and tired of reading. I didn't want to continue to read another boring 200 pages of nothing. Although, as i opened to the first page, I immiedetly got caught in Roland Smith's trap, and i couldn't get my head out of the book. I finished the book that night. The story is full of suspense, drama, happy endings, and sad endings. It has everything your looking for in a book if you want to be entertained.
The main character is a boy named Peak, who grew up with a family that were serious climbers. His parents loved him so much they named him after the mountain peak. Peak loved to climb himself, as it was in his blood. Early in the book, he decides to climb a skyscraper where his face gets stuck to the building.He gets caught by the police, and helicopters come to the roof of the building to save him. He has to go to court, and the suspense starts from there and never ends.