Chances are, you haven't heard of this book. I find, whenever I mention it to someone, they have never heard of it either. So, here I am, bringing this book to more people to enjoy. I found it one day, on accident, when perusing the Young Adult section of Barnes & Noble. I looked at it, read the description, was super interested, but nonetheless I put it back on the shelf because I had told myself I wouldn't buy any more books until I read the ones I already have (which, is a ridiculous statement. I could be reading books I already own until I'm at least 40 and where's the fun in not buying books? I'm supporting the printed word! Or, that's at least what I tell myself). Fast forward a few months later and this book was out sitting in a stack on the "must read" table. I cannot deny B&N when they tell me I must read a book - particularly when I avidly remembered picking it up before and putting it back. So, that's how I ended up with this gem.
Peak is about a boy named, aptly, Peak Marcello who is a daredevil to the extreme. In the beginning of the book he finds himself arrested and placed on some hefty criminal charges for trying to scale a NYC skyscraper to tag it with his personal logo - a trio of mountain peaks. Through a set of unfortunate circumstances, he is caught and then traced to all the other tags he left around the city. He is faced with a choice: spend at least a year in a juvenile detention facility or go live with his long-since-around father who owns a climbing company in Thailand who has come back into his life upon hearing about Peak's stunt.
Peak choses his father (which means leaving behind his mother, step-father and adorable twin-little-sisters) and the adventure it might bring, but he quickly learns that his father's request to be back in his life comes with a whole bunch of strings. He wants Peak to become the youngest climber to ever reach the summit of Mt. Everest, and he has to make it happen by his upcoming birthday and it has to be done entirely under the table. Despite being a climber his whole life (and the son of two incredibly avid climbers), Everest is a remarkable challenge - even without having to dodge those trying to hold him back. It's an action packed and quick moving adventure, but it's also one that could cost Peak his life.
Roland Smith has written an amazing story about friendship, life, family, adventure, and sacrifice. It's a wonderful book full of great advice and lessons that will resonate with readers of any age. It's impossible to put down - even after you've turned the final page. I was right there with Peak as his life became centered around a mountain and those who were there to help him climb it. I found myself the whole time trying to scheme a way that I could, one day, climb Everest myself. It sounds like a wonderful, terrifying, and challenging life event that I could love to do. Even though it's slightly mad and dangerous. I felt like I was right there with Peak, and I never wanted that feeling to end. I absolutely loved everything about this book. While providing incredible factual details about how to climb Everest, Smith crafts a thrilling and heart-wrenching story about a boy and his father and his friends. With a surprise ending, Peak is a book I only lucked into reading and a story that I will never forget.
Author: Roland Smith
Date Finished: 26 July 2012
First Line: My name is Peak. Yeah, I know: weird name.
Favorite Line: You can never tell who hte mountain will allow and who it will not.
Last Line: The only thing you'll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie far below. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]
Recommended: For anyone at any time. It's a quick read, but it's one that will stick with you.