"Peak is no fool. He knows when he’s being used but he also recognizes the chance for the adventure of a lifetime – and the chance to get to know his dad.

So he begins his climb and starts to fill a pair of Moleskine notebooks with his story.

For readers it’s an opportunity to revel in descriptions of climbing equipment and techniques, but also to face some of the harsh realities of the sport – everything from oxygen deprivation to belligerent Chinese border guards to the frozen corpses that litter the path. But it’s also a chance to watch a teen grapple with questions about his own nature: Is he a driven loner like his dad or does he share some of the softer qualities of his mom?

The answer to that last question is never really in doubt but Peak’s ascension to the top of Everest is anything but a certainty. His struggle en route might just keep that reluctant reader engaged till the end.

– Marjorie Kehe reviews ‘Peak’ by Roland Smith, three kids’ books about mysteries, readers’ picks of children’s books, and kids’ books for fall…"

The Christian Science Monitor

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[Thanks Chris!]