|Cover artist||Francis Floro|
Peak is a children's novel by Roland Smith concerning the physical and emotional challenges that face a fourteen-year-old kid as he climbs Mount Everest. It was first published in 2007. Peak won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award (Children's Category).
Peak is a book of the writings of fourteen-year-old boy named Peak who is climbing Mt. Everest. The narration is set up in a way that it is supposed to be like one is reading the Moleskine notebooks in which he records his adventure. In the opening scene Peak writes about scaling the Woolworth Building in New York to tag his blue mountains on them. His face freezes to the building and ends up receiving stitches when he gets back down. He is spotted by someone inside the building during a reception the mayor was attending and was thought to be a terrorist. He is arrested for climbing and vandalizing. These blue mountains are a stencil that he sprays on the buildings that he had climbed (this was his sixth). After this, he is in jail for a while. To make everything worse, a kid dies trying to repeat the stunt that Peak has done. Because of this the people of New York want to make an example of him by giving him a harsh punishment. The question is, how harsh would the punishment be? When Peak goes to court, his biological father, Joshua Wood, comes and offers to take Peak back to Thailand to live with him for a while until the situation is less severe in New York. It is either jail in New York, or live in Thailand with Josh, his biological father who he hasn't seen for seven years. There is not much of a choice for Peak so he leaves to go live with his father out of the country.
In the first flight Josh and Peak fly to Bangkok, Thailand. Josh told Peak that they are not going to Chiang Mai, where Peak was expecting to go, but will be traveling to Kathmandu (Mount Everest). At the Summit Hotel in Kathmandu, Josh leaves Peak and tells him to wait for one of Josh's friends, a Buddhist monk by the name of Zopa. Zopa will take him to Base Camp where they will prepare for the long climb up Everest. Sun-jo, a Nepalese boy, comes to the hotel room to take him to Zopa. Peak goes and gets climbing gear and prepares for the trip. Sun-jo, Peak, Zopa, and two climbing sherpa brothers named Yogi and Yash travel to Tibet in the back of a pick up truck. After a long journey they arrive at Base Camp. When they get there, Peak meets Holly Angelo, a reporter from New York, and he learns that she will be climbing the mountain with him. Stunningly, Peak also realizes at this point that his father Josh, bailed him out of jail to come and climb Mount Everest. This is important because if he makes the climb, he will be the youngest person to reach the top of the summit of Mount Everest. Later a German climber is brought down the mountain in a Gamow bag. A Gamow bag is designed to help prevent the progress of a disease called H.A.P.E., a disease that is a type of altitude sickness. Then they go to ABC (Advance Base Camp). Peak receives letters from home making him miss his family.
There is a secret meeting being held at HQ, after all the other climbers go to sleep. By invitation only, Josh, the film crew, Sparky, Dr. Krieger, Thaddeus Bowen, and Zopa, who had brought Sun-jo with him, all attend. Josh asks about Sun-jo's health, and wonders if he can make it to the top, explaining that “Peak either makes it [to the summit] on the first try or he doesn’t [make it at all]." Sun-jo has caught some sort of virus that has been spreading throughout the camps on Mt. Everest. If you get sick on Mt. Everest, there is a very slim chance you will make it to the top. After Josh finishes explaining his concern for Sun-jo, Holly comes in and tells them all that Sun-jo is Zopa's grandson. Becoming suspicious, Josh asks Sun-jo how old he is, to find out that he is fourteen too, and that he and Peak are climbing for the same reason. Later, Peak calls his mother, and is told that he should not be on the mountain, as well as he should be selfish, or else he will not be able to climb the mountain.
After a few rough days of climbing, Peak wakes up and finds that the people paying for the trip are having a meeting of their very own. They tell Peak that they want him off the mountain. Josh tells Peak that “They're right. This is their climb. They're paying the tab.” Shocked, Peak almost explodes with anger. But despite all this, Peak climbs in the truck with Zopa, and is driven away from camp. After a while, Zopa gives Peak a letter from Josh telling him that he had staged it all, and that he would be climbing up to the summit. Now Peak has to climb on a faster but more dangerous route, with the help of Zopa, Sun-jo, Yogi, and Yash. After all the steep paths and the perilous Yellow Band, they use the last of their strength to climb up to the summit of the mountain. But Peak lets Sun-jo make it to the top, and take the title of the youngest climber to ever climb Mt. Everest. Since Sun-jo's father died saving Peak’s father, reaching the top would save Sun-jo and his sisters from poverty; with the money from the equipment endorsements he would receive, they would all be able to go back to school. Sun-jo ties Peak's yellow prayer flag to the top, while Peak records the whole thing on a video camera. After Peak comes back down the mountain, he flies home after saying goodbye to Josh. When he gets home, his parents throw him a birthday party and tell him how they missed him. Peak speaks with his teacher, who tells him that his Moleskines are due, which Peak had been writing in throughout his climb. Peak then finishes his second Moleskine (a notebook) with the observation: “The only thing you’ll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie far below.” 
- Peak, a fourteen-year-old boy raised by his mother and stepfather, is the protagonist in the story. Something that Peak learns towards the end of the book is “The only thing that you’ll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie far below.”
- Josh Wood, Peak's father, "a rock rat", was not there for Peak when he was growing up. He is one of the best mountaineers in the world. “As you can see, Mr. Wood is a very successful businessman.”
- Zopa, a monk, helps Sun-jo and Peak climb Mount Everest. He is one of the main characters. “If he agrees to something he’ll do it, but he may not be doing it for the reason you think he's doing it. And he’ll never let you know why he’s doing it."
- Sun-jo is a Nepalese boy, only six days older than Peak, who climbs the mountain with Peak. He is Peak’s competitor and friend. Zopa brings Sun-jo to the summit so that he will not have to become a climbing Sherpa (a guide that helps climbers up the mountain).
- Holly Angelo is a reporter from New York, covering Peak's story. She climbs Mount Everest with them, and befriends Peak along the way.
- JR is the main cameraman, along for the climb with Holly. He is there to cover Peak's story.
- Vincent is Peak’s English teacher, and mentor, from Greene Street School.
- The judge is a tough-looking guy with a white crew cut.
- Traci is one of Peak's attorneys, who helps Peak out during the pretrial. “Don’t say one word unless I tell you to. Act remorseful.” 
- The Twins, Paula and Patrice, are Peak’s “giggling” little sisters. Peak calls them "his little peas"
- Doctor (Leah) Krieger is Peak Experience’s Doctor.
- Sparky is a climber who hopes to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
- Captain Shek, Watcher of the mountain for the Chinese, watches for illegal climbers and activity.
- Gulu is a porter trying to hide Sun-jo from Captain Shek.
- Thaddeus Bowen, a lawyer fluent in Chinese, is another climber hoping to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. He is also Josh's business partner.
- William Blade is a famous actor attempting to climb Mt. Everest.
- Yogi and Yash are sherpa brothers who help Peak and Sun-jo climb up Mt. Everest.
- Rolf Young is Peak's stepfather. He is attached to Peak, explaining at the beginning of the novel, “It’s going to be pretty boring without you around.” 
- Teri Marcello is Peak’s mother. She is married to Rolf; she never married Josh. “We’re going to miss you.” 
- Chef Pierre is Holly’s personal chef.
- Pa-sang is a Sherpa with Peak Experience.
- Ki-tar is Sun-jo’s deceased father, who saved Josh’s life.
- Dietrich is a German climber who wishes to reach the summit, despite many of his fellow climbers being dead.
- Francis is a climber with Peak Experience trying to reach the summit.
- Jack is a member of the film crew.
- Will is a member of the film crew.
- Ralph is Holly’s personal masseuse. He later moves to William Blade's tent.
- George a minor character in the story who gets into a fist fight with Peak's father Josh and threatens to sue him.
A variety of critics have said, “Here’s the perfect antidote for a kid who thinks books are boring.” “The hook here is irresistible.” “The nifty plotting, gripping story line, and Peak’s assured delivery give those who join this expedition much to savor.” “This is a thrilling, multifaceted adventure story." “Smith includes plenty of mountaineering facts told in vivid detail.” “Peak’s empathy for Sun-jo helps him make a critical decision as they near the summit, revealing his emotional growth and maturity.”
- Peak at Fantastic Fiction
- Smith, p. 129
- Smith, p. 246
- Smith, p. 246
- Smith, p.19
- Smith, p.49
- Smith, p. 11
- Smith, p. 19
- Smith, p. 21
- Smith, p. 30
- Smith, p. 30