Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Peak by Roland Smith

In six words:

The youngest kid on Mount Everest.

Summitting the world or what's important?

Okay, so I may have just made up a word to get that last one into six words. But "summitting" should be a word. It may even be common lingo for a climber. . . if I knew any climbers I'd ask.

          Really though, I should probably actually give you descriptions of a book when I review it. I'll give it a shot:

        When Peak gets caught climbing illegally, his never-seemed-to-care-before Dad, comes to bail him out and offers him the chance at every climber's dream: the summit of Mount Everest. But is everything Peak wants found on top of the world?

This book is relatively small-looking. I thought I'd finish it in a week. Other things prevented me. The beginning is very intriguing. Now the middle did slow down a bit and almost sent me into a book rut. But I think it only seemed slow because Peak and his fellow climbers have to acclimatize which takes a while. I pressed on through their acclimation and- the climax- the ending! Wow. What an amazing journey!

           I finished it in the car on the way to church. We had a friend in the car with us. She asked me a question, and I answered more irritably than I had meant.

         My mom had to explain, "She's finishing a book." You could hear the eye roll in her voice.

          "Oh," our friend said.

          "They're ten feet from the top of Everest!" I managed not to scream.


          "Mount Everest," my mom said. "It's what the book is about."

         I wasn't listening after that. Because they were TEN FEET from the TOP of THE WORLD! (don't judge the all caps; it was a good ending, it deserves the emphasis :)

           Ahem. The characters were loads of fun. Tension every where. Politics. Family problems. Friend problems. Breathing problems. The air's pretty thin up there.

           Sun-jo was a good character. He had noble reasons for being on Everest. He wanted to take care of his family. And he was a great friend. His motorcycle added some comic relief. :)  Always love that.

           Yogi and Yash. The brothers. They weren't major characters. They talked little (probably because they knew very little English). But they were hilarious all the same. You couldn't help love them.

           Josh Woods. Ugh. Let's not go there.

           The Peas, uh, twins. They were adorable! Their enthusiasm was precious. And I loved the sibling bond they had with Peak.

          Holly Angelo. I thought I wouldn't like her. I almost determined to not like her. But she kind of grew on me. Like she did to most people. She appears to be a I-care-about-myself-alone feather head, but that's just the surface. Dig deeper, go through some change, and she was actually a good character. Still in love with pink and flamboyant fashions. But a better, likable person nonetheless. It's amazing what a mountain does to you.

          Zopa! He was great. Infuriating sometimes. Almost all-knowing. But not infallible. He was almost like the guide or mentor guy. But not quite. Because he had his own agenda. Cagey old monk. . .

          Peak was my favorite though. It helped that he was a writer. And then he loved to climb. I've always wanted to climb. But his character. He was very noble in a way. He was smart, but sometimes he didn' catch on as quick as he could. In the same situation though I don't think I would have either. He was very loyal and selfless (think, sidekick loyalty, and everyone loves sidekick loyalty, heh, especially if you're a hero, but that's beside the point). Okay, I'll stop before I give too much away. (He also like parenthesis, so we got one well :)

          What I thought was really cool, was that it felt like a realistic climbing experience. The author seemed to know what he was talking about. The disasters that befell them, the tools they used, the problems that could've happened, the people, everything. It seemed very realistic. I feel I've learned a lot about climbers and the things they face while climbing. And I learned it from a novel! I love that.

           I would boast that it's a YA with a fourteen year old as a protagonist, instead of a sixteen year old. But since part of it involved Peak having to be the youngest person to top Everest, I can't really do that. If that wasn't part of the plot, who knows? Maybe he would've been sixteen?


  1. I've read this one! I did enjoy it, but I'd agree that the middle kind of dragged. I loved Peak's narrations, though. :) I ended up mad at Zopa, though! Grrr. He was sneaky. And Holly? Yep. She was so annoying she was perfect.

    And I totally know what you mean about feeling like YOU are climbing the mountain too! Gosh, it was such an exhausting book. I felt like I was running out of oxygen too, and I was so worried there at the end. The ending though? Preeeetty epic.

    1. I loved the end. :) Especially the last sentence.


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