September 30, 2008
By Gregg Hutto, All That Is Man, ZZ

Peak by Roland Smith is a story about a troubled young boy who cannot control his desire to climb. The novel begins with Peak climbing a skyscraper in New York, when all of the sudden a police helicopter appears behind him. Peak’s sentence is very unusual; he is sent to live with his dad on Mount Everest. The rest of the novel is about Peak struggling with the challenges of the mountain, himself, and his father.
Peak, a fourteen year old boy, lives in New York with his mom, step-dad, and younger twin sisters. In the beginning, he is very selfish, and does not think highly about anyone: “…But you don’t get to pick your name or your parents.” (Smith 1). This quote shows that Peak is not thrilled with the parents he was born to, or the name they gave him when he was born. After he is convicted, Peak changes to thinking about his family and how climbing has changed his life. The unselfishness he acquires follows Peak to Everest, where he makes the ultimate sacrifice to help a friend, thus showing his moral fiber.
The central conflict in the novel is between Peak and the mountain. Most of the conflict is physical, but there is a mental aspect also. The physical aspect is climbing the mountain; the mental factor is having the fortitude to help a friend at 29,000 feet. Would you sacrifice your dream to help a pal reach theirs? Can he make it to the summit of the mountain? Will he die like some of the other climbers trying to reach the summit? These are some of the questions which Peak asks himself on Everest.
I would recommend the novel Peak by Roland Smith, because the writer has a unique way of gripping the reader and keeping the reader hooked until the very end. The language Smith uses is simple, yet powerful, and adds to the novel’s entertainment. An example of his language is “To reach the top you must have resolve, muscles, skill, and…A FACE!” (Smith 5). In this quote, Smith shows how two simple words, “a face”, can put tons of meaning and emphasis into a statement. Peak is a quick read and a wonderful work of fiction. This book is for readers who enjoy action and sadness in the same story. I would definitely read this book for a second time.

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