ENDANGERED, by Eliot Schrefer

Nominated for the National Book Award, this is ostensibly a young adult (YA) book, but can only be called a YA book with fangs. Set in the Congo, it tells the story of a half-American, half-Congolese girl who rescues a young Bonobo orphan being sold on the street. Young Sophie’s mother runs a Bonobo rescue center on the edge of Kinshasa which is a first target when civil war breaks out. Sophie, alone with Otto her bonobo, must survive amidst the horrors of an unraveling country. At times hair-raising, this is probably not the ideal kid’s bedtime read, but it is certainly highly descriptive of the chaos civil war brings, and the heartbreak. Author Schrefer (who I am pleased and proud to say is a friend of mine) actually went to the Congo to meet the sociable, gentle apes, which are closely related to humans; (we share over 99% of our genes with Bonobos). A winner for any age group; it’s a 5. To find out more about the bonobo, go to this site: http://www.friendsofbonobos.org/news/