Author: Eliot Schrefer
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub Date: 10/1/12
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: I didn't know much about the Democratic Republic of Congo before reading this book, and now I really want to know more. I also didn't know anything about bonobos (which are like chimpanzees, kind of), and now I really want to know more about them too. This book was a learning experience for me. Not only was it full of really interesting tidbits about ape behavior, it also really opened my eyes to what it is like to be a teenager living in a war torn country.
Memorable or Forgettable: I won't be forgetting this book for a long time, because the images of violence and the way Sophie and Otto really had to use every ounce of strength to survive were so powerful. I also thought this book was really well-written; it wasn't preachy, and it was honest. The author also didn't try to play down the more violent aspects of the book, which in this case, made it more realistic.
Cover: I love this cover. It perfectly captures the spirit of this book. The sweet little bonobo face is enough to make you want to pick it up, but the fear in his expression and the darkness in the background makes you do a double take. It really shows all the darkness but also the hope that is in this book.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: Growing up in Congo makes you tough. But when Sophie stumbles upon Otto, a baby bonobo who needs her in order to survive, all of her skills will be tested as she struggles to keep them alive in the midst of a bloody revolution.
tags: adventure / Democratic Republic of Congo / bonobos / ya lit