Jan 10, 2013

Review: Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Title: Endangered
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: October 1, 2012
Pages/Format: 272, Hardcover

The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos--and herself--from a violent coup.

The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. 
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled to be there. It's her mother's passion, and she'd rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.

Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: HOLDME

First and foremost, let me tell you something: this is not your typical Young Adult novel. It's different--but it's a very, very good different. It's realistic fiction, a sort of contemporary, non-fiction book. It's not a romance novel--but there is love. The love of life, the love of people, and the love of one very special bonobo.

I stumbled upon this book by chance, and thank gosh I did. I was looking at upcoming releases on Barnes and Nobles in their Teen section, and I stopped when I saw a cover with a chimpanzee on it. (Note: Chimpanzees are not monkeys, so please don't call them that. To learn what is a monkey and what is not, look at this.) I've always loved animals, including primates, and after taking a Primatology class I was even more in love. So imagine how I felt when I found this book--I flipped, and I wanted it badly. Now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner, because Endangered was stunning, fantastic, lovely--so, so good.

This book gave me all the feels. From smiles to terror to tears, it hit me. I enjoyed reading it. The book begins in action, with Sophie finding Otto (a young bonobo) and saving him. Then several things happen, and war hits the Congo, and it hits hard. That's when I started to get scared, wondering what would happen to Sophie and my lovely Otto. The book is told from her point of view, and for almost its entirety she's with Otto--therefore, it felt like I was with Otto. I loved Sophie and Otto--she fought for Otto, refused to leave his side, and I loved it. I fell in love with Otto, wanting to spend 24/7 with him myself. Closing the book and leaving their story was something I didn't want to do but had to, and it was heart-wrenching. 

While it's a shorter book, it's still packed full of scenes--but it doesn't feel like an information overload. Endangered is about Sophie getting from Point A to Point B in a war zone--along with caring for a bonobo. To see how horrible the Congo was (in the book, not in real-life) was crazy, and it really freaked me out. There was so much murder, not to mention all the suffering people were going through. Without going into too much detail--and just pushing the boundaries when it came to it--Schrefer painted a picture, and it was amazing. And his writing was spot-on. It wasn't too much, and it wasn't too little--it was just right. I saw pretty much no errors, and it flowed and was beautiful and it just worked. Sometimes, writing can ruin a book. But this just made it better. Simple, with just the right amount of detail. Loved it.

I could probably go on and on about this book, so I'm just going to say a few more quickish things. For one, I wish there were more books like this, books that show other parts of the world that are less fortunate, books about fighting for what I want to fight for and work with so, so much: animals. This book is underrated/understated. I don't think enough people have read it or heard about it, so I'm telling you right now: read this book. I think you'll learn something. And now I'm going to stop, because I'm about to start crying again. I ended this book sobbing, you know. Legitimate sobbing, my neck and ends of my hair drenched in my tears. (It may be a happy cry, it may be a sad cry, or it may be both--I'm not telling you.) This book is beautiful and breathtaking and stunning, and I know it's up for some big award (National Book Award Finalist!)--I sure do hope it wins. And I'll end this with the words that were running through my head as I read the last page (disclaimer: Goodreads says Endangered ends at 272 pages, when the story ends on 250. I just thought I'd let you know so your soul's not crushed expecting 22 more pages like mine was): hold me. (Or let me hold a bonobo. Please, please, please!)

Did I like it? Absolutely.
Did I love it? Oh gosh yes!
Would I reread it? Yes!
Would I purchase it? Already have it!
Would I recommend it? Yes, yes, yes!


  1. do you know what pov it is in?

  2. What chapter does it start when the revolution breaks out?


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