November 2012

Life or death in the jungle

By Eliot Schrefer
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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.

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By Eliot Schrefer
ISBN 9780545165761

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