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Peak
Book
2007
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Though he's only 14 years old, Peak Marcello has climbing in his blood. With two famous climbers for parents, it could have been worse, he says-he might have been named Crampon. When he is caught scaling skyscrapers in New York City, he is sent to live with his father. Turns out, Dad is leading an expedition to Everest and wants Peak to be the youngest climber ever to make the top. Cold Weather Appeal: Brrrrr, but it is cold at the top of the world. The frozen corpses and empty oxygen bottles will be familiar to readers of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Why It Is for Us: Peak combines alpine adventure with a bit of "Free Tibet" commentary, focusing on the plight of the Sherpas who bring the climbers to the top and the border dispute with the Chinese government. Peak himself is a winning protagonist with the sense to know when to step aside for the greater good.-Angelina Benedetti (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist 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. --Todd Morning Copyright 2007 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

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 Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p> The only thing you'll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie far below. - Peak Marcello</p> <p>After fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he's left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father's renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. As owner of Peak Expeditions, he wants his son to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit--and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it's also one that could cost him his life.</p> <p>Roland Smith has created an action-packed adventure about friendship, sacrifice, family, and the drive to take on Everest, despite the incredible risk. The story of Peak's dangerous ascent--told in his own words--is suspenseful, immediate, and impossible to put down.</p>
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