Peak
by Smith, Roland






After being arrested for scaling a New York skyscraper and then sent to live with his long-lost father and fellow climber, Peak Marcello finds it difficult to rebuild their bond, thus when his father suddenly pushes him to climb Mt. Everest, Peak must take into consideration his father's questionable motives.





ROLAND SMITH has written many books for children and young adults, including Zack's Lie, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.
 





/*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. ((Reviewed April 1, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist 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) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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