Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Peak" by Roland Smith


"You messed up, Pete."
"Peak," I said.
"Like in 'mountain peak'?"
"Right."
"Weird name."
"Weird parents."

Peak Marcello, as his name suggests, is a climber. His mom and dad, both mountain climbers, started him climbing at an early age, and his mom has encouraged him his whole life.
Climbing is about to get him in trouble though.
Peak has climbers itch- the climbing wall at the gym isn't big enough anymore- so he finds bigger things.
Like skyscrapers.
When Peak is busted climbing the Woolworth Building, he knows he's in trouble. But how much? The court wants to sentence him to three years in jail, but his mom and stepfather, Rolf, aren't about to let that happen.
When Peak's long lost father, Joshua, shows up unexpectedly, Peak is offered a deal by the court. He can disappear off radar for several years, or he could go to jail.
Peak chooses to disappear.
His father takes him to Tibet, where he springs a surprise on fourteen-year-old Peak: Peak is going to try to be the youngest person to ever climb Everest.
With the help of Sun-jo, Peak's new friend; Zopa, a mysterious monk from Joshua's past; Joshua himself; and a whole bunch of other characters, Peak attempts the climb.
But is he willing to put everyone's safety at risk to reach the top?

Yash helped Sun-jo set his rig, and when he got it on we looked at each other and started laughing.
We were going to live.

I liked this book. No. I really really liked this book. I found myself wanting to just read the book, no matter what. My copy got returned to the library in much worse condition than when I checked it out, and I can confidentially say that this is one of the best books I've read in the past two or three months.

The thing that I really liked about this book were the characters. They were well developed, and interesting. I found myself sympathizing with Peak during his experiences... I think the author did a very good job of making Peak human, so you could really get inside his head. On the other hand, he also definitely had his very own voice and personality. I can't think of too many fourteen-year-olds who would be happy to share their birthday with their twin half-sisters.
Besides Peak, the characters I liked the most were Rolf, Peak's stepfather, and the characters who make up the film crew.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books with tough moral decisions, but who don't mind having adventure in there as well.

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