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Smith, Roland.
Orlando : Harcourt, 2007
ISBN 0152024174

(7 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

The air is so thin up here, Peak doesn't think he will ever be able to make it.  How can they really expect a 14-year-old to summit the tallest peak on earth?  If his father wasn't leading the expedition and if he hadn't gotten himself into trouble back in the states, this would not be happening.  But what is really going on here?  Why is his father so interested in him after ignoring him most of his life?  Is it really about wanting Peak to be the youngest person ever to summit on Mt. Everest? Why are the Chinese soldiers making repeated trips to check on the climbers?  And why is Peak's dad so interested in the Nepalese boy on the trip?

Booktalk #2

Peak, yes thatís his name (his parents are well known mountain climbers), has a need to climb.  But in NYC there arenít any nearby mountains to climb­but there are skyscrapers.  Peak is caught scaling a sky scraper and attempting to tag the top. His mother and stepfather are at a loss as to what to do, and Peak almost ends up in juvenile detention.  Luckily for Peak, his long-absent father steps in to save the day. Peak soon finds himself at the base camp of Mt. Everest on the Chinese side. His father would like him, and fully expects him, to become the youngest person ever to summit Mt. Everest. If the mountain doesnít get to him first.    (New Hampshire Isinglass Award Nominee, 2008-2009)

Booktalk #3

Peak Marcello, a boy who loves to climb, is about to go on the greatest adventure of his life. His parents are some of the best climbers in the world, and he takes after their legacy. He climbs skyscrapers illegally to "tag", or spray paint his logo, on them. One day it all goes wrong. He gets hurt while climbing a skyscraper and eventually the police and paramedics have to come to rescue him. He got in a lot of trouble, and instead of prison, the judge decided to send Peak to live with his dad in Tibet for a year.

Peak had not seen his dad in a long time, so he was overjoyed. When he got there, his dad handed him a bunch of climbing equipment. What was this about? Maybe he would just let him climb a simple mountain for fun. What Peak did not know was that his dad intended for him to climb Mount Everest. Not only would he reach the summit, but he would be the youngest person ever to do so. Read the book to find out if he gets there, and what happens along the way. It is a great Adventure book for middle school students, especially if you like climbing! (Sergey G., student)

Booktalk #4

Peak has been caught climbing a skyscraper and as punishment, he has to spend his summer with his father Ė climbing Everest. In fact, if he makes it to the top, Peak will be the youngest person ever to summit, which would give his dadís climbing company quite the prestige. But Peak isnít one of the paying climbers who are treated like royalty Ė heís unpaid help, so he gets to see the less glamorous side of the climbing business and makes friends with the people his father pretends not to see. Peak is being pressured to do something absolutely amazing Ė something he may not be ready for physically or mentally.

The ending of this book, Peakís final decision, still gives me chills. This is, at heart, a coming of age story Ė and when you realize how Peak has grown in his adventure, you will be surprised. Also, it will give you a really good idea what itís like on Everest, so be sure you have plenty of warmth and oxygen to get you through. (Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2011)

Booktalk #5

Peak Marcello, was named by his mountaineering, ďrock-ratĒ parents. We meet Peak while heís being arrested for scaling Manhattanís Woolworth Building, trying to graffiti his tag-a blue mountain peak-high on the side of it. The consequences are severe; Peak is headed for a long stint in juvie. Then his father, a man heís never known, swoops into the courtroom with a solution to get ďSpider-BoyĒ as the media has dubbed Peak, immediately and far out of sight. Peak is headed to Mt. Everest. Before the trek to China, where Peakís father runs a commercial climbing operation on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, Peakís English teacher, Vincent, gives him two notebooks to fill, which will complete his requirements for the school year. Peak uses the notebooks to tell his story, a terrifying one. If his fatherís plan going accordingly, Peak will become the youngest person to ever summit Everest -overcoming Chinese bureaucrats, resentment of his father, rivalry with a Nepalese teen who has the same goal, avalanches, icy crevasses, howling winds, searing cold and many, many frozen corpses to reach the 29,028-foot summit. But Peak has always been a person who thinks and acts for himself, all consequences aside.   (Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2011)

Booktalk #6

(start by breathing heavily, like youíre out of breathÖintersperse book talk with heavy breathing throughout).

Sorry. Itís hard to catch your breath at 22,000 feet, and thatís where I am, at Camp Four on Mount Everest. My nameís Peak Marcello, and yes, my dadís the famous climber Joshua Wood. Thatís why Iím here. I got in to a bit of trouble climbing a skyscraper in New York City, and everyone thought it would be best for me to leave town for a while. Dad told mom that he was taking me to his place in Thailand, but instead here we are in Tibet. I might be the youngest person to ever summit Everest, if I make it to the top. But Iím not sure if Iíll make it, or if I even want to. Dad seems to think that if he gets a 14 year old to the top, itíll be good for his company, but all the climbers who are here with him right now, who have paid big money for dad to guide them up, are really annoyed with me being here, say they should come first. Then thereís this other kid, Sun-jo, who seems to be dadís backup plan for the youngest kid to summit Everest if I donít make it. I like Sun-jo, but donít like the fact that heís kept secrets from me. When mom found out where I was, she was mad, and worried, and told me that I have to be totally selfish in order to get to the top and survive. But I donít know if thatís who I am. Being up in the death zone messes with your brain, tooÖand Iím not sure if I can make it, or if I even want to. This may be the hardest thing Iíve ever done.   (Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2011)

Booktalk #7

At fourteen years old, Peak is an accomplished climber, but his problems begin when he is caught climbing a New York sky scraper. The judge sends Peak to live with his father in Thailand. He reluctantly leaves his young twin sisters, his mom and stepfather behind, with the plan of finishing school by writing about his travels. To his surprise, Peakís father is in the midst of leading a group up the deadly Mt. Everest. Peak is quickly outfitted for the mountain and flown to Tibet. If Peak makes it to the summit, he will be the youngest person to accomplish such a feat and his fatherís climbing company will be successful. Peak endures the hardships of preparing for, and finally climbing the mountain. Read this exciting adventure and find out if Peak makes it to the summit.  (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee, 2011)

SUBJECTS:     Mountaineering -- Fiction.
                        Everest, Mount (China and Nepal) -- Fiction.
                        Survival -- Fiction.
                        Coming of age -- Fiction.

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