“Endangered” by Eliot Schrefer is a wonderful young adult book about conflict that is ripping apart the Congo and one girl’s quest to save a group of bonobos.
Schrefer has a gift for storytelling, and I was gripped by this one from the start. Sophie is a strong, caring 14-year-old girl who grew up in the Congo. When she was young her parents divorced — her father wanting Sophie to go to school in the states and have a better education, her mother unwilling to part with her work to create sanctuaries for the bonobos. When Sophie returns to the Congo on her summer break to visit with her mom, she buys a baby bonobo who was being mistreated by a trafficker. She names the baby Otto and works to nurse him back to health. After her mom leaves to release adult bonobos back into the wild, Sophie is caught in a civil war that has broken out a new in the country. Given a chance to be airlifted out to safety because she is American, Sophie escapes, unable to leave Otto behind and determined to be reunited with her mother. ype of great ape) from those who wish to them harm.
I loved how strong, but real, of a character Sophie was. Schrefer didn’t go deep into her life in American vs. her life in the Congo. But used subtle experience to tie the two together. Her mother was also a character I enjoyed, though trying to be a good mother, she has a love for the bonobos that is stronger than he commitment to family, as much as she loves her daughter.
This book was pitch-perfect in everything from the flow of the story to the character development and vivid detail of the Congo and the conflict it remains engulfed in.Schrefer doesn’t shy away from the harshness or violence that engulfs a place during a civil war, but he also fills the darker parts with more heartfelt moments. I would recommend this to any young reader who loves to discover a new world and read about teens who are so similar to them, yet live such different lives.
This is a a not-to-be-missed novel, full of adventure, struggle and heart.
Four stars out of five