BOOK NAME: Peak
AUTHOR: Roland Smith
14-year old Peak is obsessed with the sport of climbing. He attends climbing camps, has had previous experience with climbing, and it happens to be known that Peak’s parents were formerly renowned climbers. All this to say, Peak is so engrossed by climbing that he has taken the initiative to start climbing several New York skyscrapers! All fares well for Peak until the worst possible scenario occurs: Peak is caught and arrested by the New York Police Department while he is scaling the Woolsworth Building. With Peak’s story buzzing throughout New York, and the court threatening to sentence him for a few years in a Juvenile Detention Center, Peak’s father, Josh, offers to take custody of Peak for a little while until things calm down in the city. Josh takes Peak to the towering slopes of Mount Everest where he manages a climbing company. At the mountain, he offers Peak an opportunity to reach the summit of Everest, which Peak cannot resist. However, attempting to reach the summit isn’t exactly a walk in the park for Peak, as he must strike a mutual bargain with his father, endure the hardships of climbing the world’s tallest mountain (i.e weather, sickness), and deal with stubborn Chinese authorities and his father’s aggravating clients. Here, in this book, Peak writes a detailed account of his adventure in the Himalayas and the numerous emotions and struggles he must grapple with in his quest to conquer a merciless mountain.
Peak was one of the best books I have ever read that deals with the genre of adventure survival/nature. Roland Smith carves out a spectacular fictional novel about climbing Mount Everest and at the same time, decorates that novel with a rich, vivid storyline. In other words, Smith doesn’t just fill an entire book on basic knowledge facts on climbing Everest but also manipulates that knowledge part so that it revolves around a centralized story. As a result, readers are not only enriched by facts about Everest, but are also entertained by Peak’s experience scaling the mountain. I’d also like to commend the author for his excellent character depth and development, as he assembles a group of memorable characters each with their own unique traits/characteristics. For example, readers will definitely be able to remember Zopa, a strong-willed Buddhist monk whose wisdom and experience in climbing mountains are revered by those who interact with him. Other unforgettable characters include the amiable, humble Sun-Jo, one of Peak’s closest climbing partners, Holly Angelo, the grouchy journalist who always wants things her way, and Captain Shek, the Chinese captain who always seems to be suspicious about all the climbers on Everest. While readers go through the book, they will be delighted by Roland Smith’s unique style of writing as he shares every one of Peak’s thoughts. Readers will laugh at Peak’s jokes that spring out from his mind and will be able to interpret every emotion that he goes through during his climb. The book also gives great insight into the difficulties of climbing Everest, from the infamous climbing condition known as HAPE to oxygen deprivation, and also takes a cultural look at Everest, delving into the world of Sherpas (the natives of the mountain who assist the climbers).
There were barely any negative aspects in this book and I’d definitely suggest this book for all adventure/action, nature, and science readers. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this book a 10, as it is definitely one of the best young adult novels Roland Smith has ever written. Check out this book whenever you can, and I’ll guarantee you’ll enjoy it!