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 sancuary 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.
"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. " - Publishers Weekly starred review
“[D]azzling, big-hearted…As riveting as the acting is, it’s the nuanced portraits of the characters, human and ape, that make the story so deeply affecting…Otto, however, becomes the story’s real protagonist. The descriptions of him are so visceral I sometimes felt I was holding a bonobo, not a book.” - New York Times Book Review