• Peak
  • Peak


4.4 336
by Roland Smith

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The emotional, tension-filled story of a fourteen-year-old boy's attempt to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.See more details below


The emotional, tension-filled story of a fourteen-year-old boy's attempt to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

[set star] “A thrilling, multifaceted adventure story . . . A winner at every level.”—Booklist (starred)
“A riveting read for reluctant and experienced readers alike.”—VOYA (5Q—highest rating)
Publishers Weekly

Here's the perfect antidote for a kid who thinks books are boring. In his latest, Smith (Cryptid Hunters) introduces 14-year-old Peak Marcello (named by his mountaineering parents) as he's arrested for scaling Manhattan's Woolworth Building, in an attempt to graffiti his tag-a blue mountain peak-high on the side of it. Peak is headed for a long stint in juvie when his estranged father swoops into the courtroom with a solution that will get the media's newest darling-the papers have dubbed Peak "Spider Boy"-immediately and far out of sight. Before the trek to China, where Peak's father runs a commercial climbing operation on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, Peak's English teacher, Vincent, gives him two notebooks to fill, which will complete his requirements for the school year. This conceit allows Peak to tell his story in his own wry voice and to share lots of Vincent's advice. "A good writer should draw the reader in by starting in the middle of the story with a hook," Peak recalls. "I guess Vincent thinks readers are fish." The hook here is irresistible-Peak will try to become the youngest person ever to scale Everest-overcoming Chinese bureaucrats, resentment of his father, rivalry with a Nepalese teen who has the same goal, avalanches, icy crevasses, howling winds, searing cold and many, many frozen corpses to reach the 29,028-foot summit. The nifty plotting, gripping story line and Peak's assured delivery give those who join this expedition much to savor. Ages 12-up. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Mathew Sprague
I really liked this book a lot. I was quite surprised by the ending and the decisions that Peak made. I think that those decisions were made because he remembered what his mom told him on the phone about having to be really selfish to be a climber, and he was thinking about his twin sisters.
VOYA - Kim Carter
Met at the top of the Woolworth Building in New York City by a SWAT team, fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello faces years of jail time as a result of his evening climb to tag the top of the building. But his long-absent father swoops in and negotiates to take Peak out of the country long enough to let the publicity die down. When Peak learns that his father's motives are self-serving, aimed at garnering advertising for his Thailand-based climbing company, Peak has choices to make, ultimately opting for the opportunity to be the youngest climber to summit Everest, even if it means serving his father's purpose. In an attempt to deflect attention, Josh-Peak's father doesn't like to be called "Dad"-puts Peak in the care of Zopa, a former head Sherpa-turned-Buddhist monk. Zopa and Peak are joined by Sun-jo, a young Nepalese boy whose Sherpa father died saving Josh's life. This book is Peak's story about what really happens on the mountain, including coming to terms with his relationship with his father as well as with his mother and stepfather, twin sisters, and above all, with himself. The first-person narrative is presented as a school-credit writing assignment done throughout the journey, adding an element that serves to tether the story to some more mundane realities. Deftly developed characters who matter and a gritty story line packed with the intrigue and challenge of serious mountain climbing for serious stakes make this book a riveting read for reluctant and experienced readers alike.
VOYA - Kelsey Sands
Fourteen-year-old Peak is a prodigy climber who appears to have more maturity than most adults in this book. He struggles with the idea of being used by his father for personal gain and tells the story of what he does to battle that. The book is very well written and even humorous at times. People who enjoy reading about a character's personal growth and how that person overcomes challenges will like this book.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
When Peak scales a Manhattan skyscraper in order to tag it, he's caught and arrested. He escapes being sentenced to Juvenile Detention when he agrees to go live with his long-absent father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. However, it turns out that Peak's father has a special reason for rescuing his son: he wants Peak, age 14, to be the youngest person to scale Everest, because the publicity could help save his struggling company. Reaching Everest's summit is every climber's dream, but can Peak survive the trip? Altitude, illness, bad weather, and a hostile Chinese army official all pose problems, not to mention the film crew focused on Peak's every move. And will a younger Tibetan Sherpa reach the top before him? Lots of convincing detail about the rigors of mountain climbing and the political situation in Tibet add to the realism in this tale of a boy testing himself against the elements, struggling with his relationship with his father, and making difficult moral decisions. Readers will enjoy Peak's daring, the exotic setting and the suspense.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
When Peak Marcello is caught climbing the side of a New York City skyscraper, the judge is determined to throw the book at him. His mother, stepfather, and father devise a plan that will keep him out of jail and away from the press. He is to leave the United States with his father, Josh, a famous mountain climber. Peak thinks he is on his way to Thailand and is thrilled when his father takes him to climb Mount Everest. Peak is hoping to bond with the father he hardly knows; however, it is not long before he learns the real reason his father has brought him there: He wants his son to have the distinction of being the youngest climber to reach the peak of Mount Everest. It would bring a great deal of fame and fortune to Josh. The plot thickens as the Buddhist monk, Zopa, hopes that his grandson, Sun-Jo, will be the youngest to reach the summit. Sun-Jo is in Tibet on forged papers, and he is being tracked by the Chinese Captain Shek. Readers will feel the difficulties of climbing this mountain. The story is full of action, mystery, the suspense of who will make it to the summit, and the added suspense of Chinese politics. The harshness of climbing Everest offers Peak harsh lessons of life and death, and helps him grasp the true importance of family and friends. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal

Gr 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 ReutterCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Dare-devil mountain-climber, Peak Marcello (14), decides to scale the Woolworth Building and lands in jail. To save him, his long-lost Everest-trekking dad appears with a plan for the duo to make a life in Katmandu-a smokescreen to make Peak become the youngest person in history to summit Mount Everest. Peak must learn to navigate the extreme and exotic terrain but negotiate a code of ethics among men. This and other elements such as the return of the long-lost father, bite-size chunks of information about climbing and altitude, an all-male cast, competition and suspense (can Peak be the youngest ever to summit Everest, and can he beat out a 14-year-old Nepalese boy who accompanies him?) creates the tough stuff of a "boys read." The narrative offers enough of a bumpy ride to satisfy thrill seekers while Peak's softer reflective quality lends depth and some-but not too much-emotional resonance. Teachers will want to pair this with Mark Pfetzer's Within Reach: My Everest Story (1998). (Fiction. 12-15)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
[set star] “A thrilling, multifaceted adventure story . . . A winner at every level.”—Booklist “A riveting read for reluctant and experienced readers alike.”—VOYA (5Q—highest rating)
Publishers Weekly
“Here’s the perfect antidote for a kid who thinks books are boring. . . . The nifty plotting, gripping story line and Peak’s assured delivery give those who join this expedition much to savor.” Publishers Weekly (starred)

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