Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. When Sophie has to visit her mother at her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. Read more...
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Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. When Sophie has to visit her mother at her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. Then Otto, an infant bonobo, comes into her life, and for the first time she feels responsible for another creature. But peace does not last long for Sophie and Otto. When an armed revolution breaks out in the country, the sanctuary is attacked, and the two of them must escape unprepared into the jungle. Caught in the crosshairs of a lethal conflict, they must struggle to keep safe, to eat, and to live. In ENDANGERED, Eliot Schrefer plunges us into a heart-stopping exploration of the things we do to survive, the sacrifices we make to help others, and the tangled geography that ties us all, human and animal, together.
- ISBN-13: 9780545165761
- ISBN-10: 0545165768
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: October 2012
- Page Count: 264
- Reading Level: Ages 12-NA
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Schrefer (The Deadly Sister) shines a light on an oft-overlooked part of the world with this intense adventure set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When Sophie, a half-American, half-Congolese 14-year-old, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary, her biracial origins make her feel out of place, but she finds purpose by bonding with and caring for Otto, an abused juvenile bonobo. Civil war breaks out while Sophie’s mother is away, and Sophie is inadvertently trapped in a country beset by starvation, roving bands of killers, and natural hazards. To stay alive, Sophie and Otto live off the land, travel in secret, and coexist with other bonobos, while seeking escape or refuge from the chaos. Schrefer spares no detail, fully exposing the horrors of war as he chronicles Sophie’s struggle for survival. This drama is clearly written from the heart, smoothly educating readers about the perilous dichotomy of the Congo and the heart-wrenching plight of the endangered bonobo, without sacrificing the intensity of the story. Sophie, meanwhile, demonstrates herself to be tenacious, resourceful, and strong, making decisions that, while not always smart, are driven by compassion. Ages 12–18. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)
Life or death in the jungle
Set in the dark jungles of Congo, Endangered chronicles 14-year-old Sophie’s accidental mission to save a group of bonobos when the country is overtaken by civil war.
When she arrives in Congo for the summer, Sophie feels unenthusiastic about the mandatory visit to her mother’s bonobo sanctuary. But when she saves a near-death young bonobo from the streets, she becomes an adoptive mother to the ape, called Otto.
When a minor government upheaval turns into a war, Sophie and Otto are forced to take refuge in the jungle with the bonobo pack. Bonobos are quite possibly our closest relative in the animal kingdom, and unlike chimpanzees, they form close-knit, protective family groups. Nevertheless, gaining acceptance isn’t easy for Sophie and Otto, and they soon discover the jungle provides little protection from bullets. Sophie’s only hope is to seek the safety of the bonobo release site on the other side of the country. With Otto by her side, she begins to cross a slew of rebel-filled villages.
Endangered is a thrilling adventure that explores the transformative bond between a human and an ape. Sophie begins as a fragile Congolese-American girl, unsure of her place in either country; by the end, she has found meaning in a cause that goes far beyond herself.