I love a good adventure novel, and when I’d heard about PEAK, by Roland Smith, I had to read it. The story is about 14-year old Peak Marcello, the son of two divorced mountain climbers. When Peak is caught scaling (and tagging) a NYC skyscraper, he finds himself facing the NYC courts.
In an effort to avoid having her son serve time in juvenile detention, Peak’s mother agrees to let his absent father of seven years (and world famous mountaineer) take Peak to Thailand, where he owns a climbing company. Ah, but the plot thickens when we discover that his father has an ulterior motive. This is the catalyst that launches Peak into every serious mountain climber’s dream—to summit Mt. Everest.
I was most impressed in the story's details. Smith obviously researched this book at great depths, and I wouldn’t doubt that he's climbed a mountain or two himself (he does reside in Oregon, after all). His descriptions of high altitude climbing were thorough and informative, without feeling forced.
Like any good climb, the plot takes some interesting and unexpected twists and turns, particularly the ending (which I won’t give away here—you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out that little gem). The story has all the things that make for a great adventure: an awesome setting, human drama, tension, friendship, sacrifices, unexpected twists, heroes, a villain and a satisfying ending. I will say though, that while I loved this ending for a teen novel, I would find it unbelievable had this been this written for the adult market. Good thing that didn't happen!
PEAK by Roland Smith