Thursday, June 14, 2007
Peak by Roland Smith
Wow! This is the new action book to recommend to middle school guys. Peak (yes, that's his name) is the 14-year-old son of two famous mountain climbers. His father, Josh, isn't part of his life. He never even answers Peak's letters because he is too busy climbing in Tibet and Nepal. The action starts when Peak is arrested for climbing a skyscraper. (It's the only thing there is to climb in New York City where he lives.) Josh sweeps in and takes Peak away to avoid jail time and lots of bad publicity. He says he's taking him to live in Thailand, but the real plan is to take Peak to the summit of Mt. Everest. It's not that Josh cares much about Peak, but he wants the credit for bringing the youngest-ever climber to the summit of the tallest mountain in the world. The rest of the book is all about the experience of trying to climb Mt. Everest. I have read several nonfiction books about this experience (Into Thin Air being the best one) and it is fascinating. It takes an incredible amount of equipment, time, determination, luck and egotism to succeed. Peak encounters a wise monk, a desperate teen from Tibet, stinking yaks, and many more characters on the mountain. It's mainly a book of action, but Peak is a better person than his father and learns valuable lessons about what is important in life. Highly recommended!