Endangered Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-19 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 118 user ratings

"People who write reviews are, like, gods; they are so powerful. Or at least they can be. I bought this book for my oldest grandson because of a review I read--then he chose it for our book club selection. Wow. I know that was his reaction (he's almost 13) and I have to concur. This is not a true story but it is very well researched and certainly reads like one. I was scared and angered and sad and happy and relieved and afraid. The images will longer much longer. This is the first of a series, but I don't know that the two of us will read the others; we like to branch out. Plus, I learned so much about bonobos and the Congo. I also learned a lot about myself, e.g., I am lucky to survive a hang nail. Recommend this for girls or boys, animal lovers, budding conservationists and environmentalists, adventurers too." said.

"This book was okay overall. I loved the different personalities of the bonobos (especially Otto) This book had me shipping Anastasia and Mushu even though they aren’t human " said.

" Fast-paced adventure story set in the Congo, amidst the background of revolution, violence, survival, and the love of a young orphan animal. Great for animal lovers and anyone wanting to learn more about Africa, or the great apes called bonobos. Wow. " said.

" Excellent read-recommended by a student. It seemed as if this could have been a fact-based book, but it turns out to be fiction. The story is that of a girl who visits her mom in Conga right before a war breaks out. She essentially falls in love with a bonobo and goes out of her way to protect him, while putting herself in extreme danger. I was reminded of the Poisonwood Bible and other stories of Jane Goodall & Dian Fossey. It was an exciting read-I recommend it. " said.

"A heart wrenching, action packed novel
Sophie travels to the Congo, where her mother runs a sanctuary for bonobos. Along the way, she meets Otto, a baby bonobo, and instantly connects with the abused and starving creature. Her love for bonobos and the sanctuary blossoms as she becomes the adoptive mother to Otto. Then war strikes and Sophie must flee unprepared with her only friend deep into the jungle. She must not only survive, but protect Otto as well. As they trek across the Congo, surrounded by conflict and despair, Sophie and Otto, depend on each other for survival.
Amid the horrors of war, Sophie finds love, friendship, and compassion. Through the tragedy of conflict and the poverty of the Congo, Sophie’s character explores kindness and sacrifice, and the depths of emotion humankind can reach when forced to survive.
Well written and thoughtful, Endangered provides a heart wrenching and action packed novel that readers of any age will enjoy.
Recommended for readers age 12-17, Endangered is scheduled for release October 1, 2012, bust is currently available from Scholastic in select bookfairs.
Endangered- Eliot Schrefer
" said.

"I found out about this book when fellow educators had mentioned it on Twitter and then again during a conference workshop, so I could hardly wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, for me, it just did not live up to my expectations. I love the concept of it, and appreciate the fact that it doesn't shy away from difficult concepts as many young adult books tend to do, but the writing did not engage me. I thought that it lacked details and jumped from one event to the next without a whole lot of explanation. The people who worked in the bonobo sanctuary were alive one moment and then suddenly the reader finds out that they are dead. In a time of war, that is accurate to have happen, but I suppose I thought the grieving time for the main character, Sophie, would be a bit longer and that the recognition of these kind people being mercilessly killed would be greater. It lacked the compassion that I felt should have been there. The end of the book also jumped remarkably quickly from Sophie being a young teenager to all of a sudden going to college and then suddently being engaged with no real mention of her fiance or anything that had happened in between. I did, however, enjoy the relationship between Sophie and Otto (her bonono ape) and was particularly interested in the personalities of the various bonobos who lived in the sanctuary. As I told the students in my class (who are much to young to read this book themselves) it wasn't a "good-fit" for me. While others really enjoyed it, I wasn't dying to pick it up and read it all of the time which good fit books should make you want to do. " said.

"Schrefer, E. (2012). Endangered. New York: Scholastic Press. 264 pp. ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1. (Hardcover); $17.99.

Bonobos! Who knew? Schrefer’s National Book Award nominated title features bonobos, a close relative to the chimpanzee and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a land torn by violence and corruption. While this book is fiction, it is based on the very real situation in the Congo and Schrefer’s research at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary.

Sophie is Congolese and American. Her mother loves her family, but her family is not as important to her as her work with the bonobos, which has driven her father away. Consequently, Sophie does not feel that she belongs anywhere. While visiting her mother at the sanctuary, she blunders her way into taking charge of Otto, a baby bonobo. Bonobos, unlike other apes, unlike chimpanzees, have a peaceful, matriarchal society. Babies do not do very well when separated from mom. When Sophie’s mother is forced to leave early to release bonobos back into the wild, Sophie is supposed to return to her father. When it comes time to leave, however, Sophie cannot bring herself to abandon Otto, knowing what this will mean to Otto who has come to think of her as his new mother. Instead of boarding the plane, Sophie bolts with Otto through the electrified fence into the bonobo sanctuary, a place that no one enters alone. Eventually rebels enter the nursery and kill the staff and many of the babies and newly rescued, quarantined bonobos. They cannot get to Sophie, however, because of the fence. When the electrified fence loses its charge, Sophie must figure out a way to find safety for herself and Otto. She is forced to run. In a land that has people killing and eating bonobos and selling babies on the black market, to say nothing of killing each other, where does one run? Schrefer exposes the political and ecological drama in a country that not many American students know anything about. One of the important questions considered in this white-knuckle drama, is the basic question of why one should care about a bonobo in a country that has so much poverty and pain. Read this story about Sophie and Otto and ask yourself whether you would have been able to abandon Otto. Caring is important and sometimes our hearts refuse to engage in qualitative arguments over the relative value of the object of our love and concern. Readers should be warned that they will fall in love with bonobos. While recognizing the plight of the humans, readers will also care about what happens to these peaceful animals. Perhaps the most important writing Schrefer does in this book is reinforce the fact that we must understand those whom we hope to help FIRST. This is an excellent blend of fiction and nonfiction. Purchase this one for both middle school and high school libraries. Here is a book that we can share with school life science departments.
" said.

"Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

A powerful departure from a world of love triangles, high school drama, and gossip, Endangered is an addictive and emotional read about a girl named Sophie, who is visiting her mother in the Congo during her summer break. Her mother has dedicated her life to the bonobo – a chimp-like animal who is actually the human’s closest relative (we share 98.7% of the same DNA). Ironically, her mother’s dedication to keeping the bonobos safe in an enclosure she maintains has severed her own connection with Sophie.

Rightfully, Sophie doesn’t want much to do with the bonobos but when she sees one in danger, she pays to take him, and they are instantly bond. She’s not supposed to pay for the bonobos – ones taken from the Congo have been ripped from their environment because more than likely their mother has been killed – and the promise of money only inspires unscrupulous people to repeat this practice. But Otto isn’t well, and Sophie can’t bear the thought of letting him live that way.

The bond between Sophie and Otto is evident from the very beginning. At times, he feels like her child and her sibling, and as I got deeper into the story, I sometimes forgot that he was a wild animal at all. When an attack breaks out and the bonobo sanctuary is threatened, Sophie and Otto support and help each other. Schrefer has created such an environment that Endangered almost feels dystopian in ways. It’s a world that we don’t often hear about, and the book takes an intense turn when Sophie must rely on nature for survival and trust in Otto.

Lush and breathtaking, but dangerous and ominous, this novel becomes its own living and breathing entity, so much so that I had to close and reopen just to catch my breath.

Expertly, Schrefer weaves together Sophie’s own memories of her parents with the political unrest in the Congo. The parallels drawn between these animals and Sophie’s own relationship with her mother are subtly and effectively done. (“Being someone’s child was always tough, always in its own way.”) In fact, I never once thought I would have such a strong reaction to this book. But it was so incredibly relatable: the will we have to survive, the complex relationships we have with our parents, and how we might have more in common with the animal kingdom than we think.

This book is a triumph in so many ways. The first 100 pages are jam-packed with so much detail and content, I felt like I had read 200 and in a good way. I never felt overwhelmed, just thrust into this world and its characters. It’s beautiful, quotable writing and challenging too — most of the time Sophie is an observer and hanging out with bonobos so there is very little dialogue. But I never missed it. There is so much said with action and movement and small behaviors that Schrefer created his own language. In general, the author does a tremendous job of burying the cultural divide Sophie feels in the beginning (she grew up in the Congo but moved back to the U.S. with her dad) as the story moves deeper and deeper into the Congo; it makes you extremely aware of how distinctly different life can be.

As a whole, Endangered has the feel of those naturalistic but intense novels from my childhood (Lord of the Flies, Bridge to Terabithia, Julie & the Wolves) because it can be enjoyed by both sexes equally and forces great discussions, while beaming with this timeless quality. Sure, Endangered might not be the typical contemporary young adult novel that everyone flocks to, but it is certainly one that is worth stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing; it’s the perfect balance of environment and emotion, family and connection — familiar themes in literature that are made refreshing and new.
" said.

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