Peak (novel) - Plot - Summary

Summary

Peak is a book of the writings of a 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 and this was the sixth. After this, he is in jail for a while then a boy dies trying to copy his stunt of climbing a building. 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, and to never ever give up on stupid dreams that only little kids will think of.

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. 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(advanced 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 Peak's health, and wonders if he can make it to the top, explaining that “Peak either makes it on the first try or he doesn’t ." Peak 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 Peak, 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 Sunjo'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. 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. It is also the twin's party. 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 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”

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