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Endangered (Ape Quartet #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,620 Ratings  ·  767 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press (first published September 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maggie Stiefvater
Jun 25, 2012 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing
Five Things about Endangered:

1. This is the first five star review I've given that is five stars for how I would've viewed this book as the target audience. This book is an upper YA, and although I enjoyed it, it would've made my eyes huge with wonder and shock as a fourteen year old unaware of the history of the Congo. I'm quite pleased to imagine it making its way into the hands of teens now, though. It's one of those books that makes you look at your own culture a little differently; makes yo
Monica Edinger
Oct 22, 2012 Monica Edinger rated it it was amazing
I absolutely did not want to read this book. The advance reader copy sat on my shelf for months untouched as I assumed it was yet another book offering a simplistic view of Africa, one that focused on the plight of an exotic animal while barely acknowledging the complications of the people who lived around it. Having lived in Sierra Leone for two years in the 70s, I'm techy about how the continent is represented, especially by well-intentioned outsiders who focus on its animals at the expense of ...more
This is a YA book for mature readers who don't flinch from reading about horrific violence against animals and human beings. It's about a very courageous fourteen year old girl whose mother runs a sanctuary for bonobo apes in a country in chaos where bonobos are sold on the black market and routinely slaughtered. It's an extremely powerful book and an important one.

I also very much liked the interview with author Eliot Schrefer at the back of the book. I found it very insightful. I was very int
Laura McNeal
This is a great book in two important ways: 1) it's an eloquent, deeply empathetic book about being a young, vulnerable person in the midst of a violent civil war, and 2) the young, vulnerable person is given an even smaller, more vulnerable creature to protect and save. I think the second part illustrates the singular role that young people's literature can play in the world, and how it differs from regular coming-of-age novels written for adults.

To tell a story about a 14-year-old Congolese-A
Part adventure story. Part socially and political commentary. Wholly remarkable.
Barb Middleton
May 01, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lisa vegan
I started twiddling out reviews as a class assignment two years ago thinking it would help me remember novels when book-talking with students. Lo and behold, this reflection process has been like a boiling hotpot with questions bubbling to the surface as I bumble along. What makes children's books great versus average or what makes picture books rise to an artistic level? What began as an assignment has morphed into an enjoyable blogging journey into the world of children's literature. A common ...more
Nov 28, 2012 Gillian rated it it was amazing
When I read a book, I like to read it like I think a writer should. That means I look out for structure, pacing, character develop, word usage. I try to read critically (you wouldn’t know it from looking at my most recent reviews, because I’ve been lucky enough to only read good books). I started Endangered like that: focused. Critical.

I ended it a sobbing mess.

For all reviewers like to dissect themes and metaphor and diction, the most important part of a book, for me, is how much you invest in
Dec 27, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing
I've always felt like the big issues of our world - war, politics, conservation - are best understood not in the context of great big international features in the New York Times but through the personal stories, and ENDANGERED is one of those. Set in war torn Congo, this is the story of a girl and the bonobo she saves, who ends up saving her right back. It's part survival story, part adventure, part coming-of-age tale, and all wonderful. Recommended for ages 12 and up, with the understanding th ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
A heartwrenching novel about a fourteen-year-old American-Congolese girl and her harrowing adventure to save an endangered bonobo in the wartorn Democratic Republic of Congo. Schrefer has done a great deal of research to make this true to the circumstances and does not sugarcoat the terrible truth of the human and animal suffering that is created by greed and corruption. A riveting story that makes you care about the human characters and animals, that explains with a good story the current event ...more
Jul 06, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
Did you know that bonobos are great apes (not monkeys)? Did you know that Endangered is a great book (about apes)? It is. This book is awesome. Sophie and Otto's desperate journey makes for a gripping story, and the war-torn Congo provides a fascinating and gritty backdrop. And oh those bonobos! The descriptions of their behavior and interactions are fascinating and expertly woven into the narrative. Two opposable thumbs up!
Jan 09, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
t’s a good thing that a trusted recommender (I know this isn’t a word but it should be) called my attention to the book because I never would have read it. And the once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. The story is sad and overwhelming at times but the message is so overwhelmingly empowering that it is possible to get through all the yucky stuff.

A must read- even and maybe especially if it seems like it’s not.
Jan 28, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
Weirdly telescoped in the last third. I'd expected the first third to take up the whole book, but it wasn't just that... things just happened very fast, without the level of detail I'd become accustomed to. But overall, enjoyed this very much. It has a very Hunger Gamesy vibe to it, for people who liked Hunger Games for the reasons I did. (Girl surviving in the woods!)
Laura Phelps
Aug 16, 2012 Laura Phelps rated it it was amazing
Shelves: possiblemsba2012
I loved everything about this book. The setting was compelling, the characters (both human and primate) were exceptionally well drawn, and the storyline was absolutely riveting.
J L's Bibliomania
Do you ever put down a book in disgust wanting to say to the main character "I can't believe you did something so impulsive and short-sighted" but at the same time knowing that sometimes without the apparently stupid act there would be no story? Such a moment comes about 1/3 of the way through Endangered when protagonist Sophie Biyoya-Ciardulli gets off the UN van that would have gotten her out of The Democratic Republic of Congo immediately after the coup in favor of staying with the orphaned b ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Josie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
One issue I had was with the first person narration. I feel like I shouls have such a clearer picture of Sophie and what kind of person she is, but most of the time she came across as a typical stubborn, impulse decision making teenager. Also she was running around in the jungle in the middle of a dangerous political upheaval and the worst things that happened to her was being hungry and thirsty, a small barely breaking the skin bonobo bite, a leech and an itchy rash? It felt a little too pat to ...more
Richie Partington
Oct 21, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: ENDANGERED by Elliot Schrefer, Scholastic Press, November 2012, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir, as quoted in Phillip Hoose’s MOONBIRD (2012)

“Imagine all the people living life in peace”
-- John Lennon (1971)

“The men said something in Swahili, then suddenly they were all moving toward me. I was nervous, but not really scared – I was only a hundred yards away from the sanctuary ent
Joanna Marple
Feb 06, 2013 Joanna Marple rated it it was amazing
Synopsis: Sophie is a spunky, honest and intelligent fourteen year-old. She is biracial, with an Italian American father and Congolese mother, who are divorced. Though in high school in the US, she spends her summers at her mother’s bonobo sanctuary just outside Kinshasa, trying to bond with her distant mother, but also sharing her mother’s passion for these endangered apes. The day of her arrival for her summer stay, she makes a poor judgment call, though out of compassion, and we find her in t ...more
Anne Willkomm
Dec 10, 2012 Anne Willkomm rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book as a promo give away at the recent Publishing Perspectives/Scholastic conference: "YA- What's Next." I began reading it on the train as I headed home and could't put it down. I wish I had known how much I was going to enjoy it because Eliot Schrefer was at the conference - I would have asked him to sign my copy!

The story begins in the Congo with Sophie - a 14-year-old American. Her parents divorced and she moved back to the states with her father, but she summers i
Dec 04, 2012 Ed added it
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 h
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
Valerie Jones
Sep 08, 2012 Valerie Jones rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2013 Sandy rated it it was ok
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 o ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Jenniferpawlik rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 12, 2015 Cresta rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer tells the story of Sophie, a Congolese-Italian American young woman. Her mother runs a bonobo sanctuary in the Congo. And as history tells us, the Congo is a dangerous place - particularly for people trying to make a positive difference.

Much like most American teens, Sophie isn't overly thrilled about spending her summer at the bonobo sanctuary, but she agrees to do so. Her mother and father divorced years ago over her mother's ambition to save these animals and s
Adam Bouzianis
Dec 09, 2015 Adam Bouzianis rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will White
Apr 25, 2015 Will White rated it really liked it
The Congo. I’ve heard all about it in the news the past 15-20 years, but I never took the time to sit down and figure it out. Schrefer not only does the job for me, he also taught me about bonobos which are an endangered great ape of the Congo. The story involves a 14-year-old girl, Sophie, and her friend Otto (baby bonobo). The Congo has been enveloped in a civil war overnight. Militants are traveling around the country killing anyone they please. Sophie’s mother left a couple of days before th ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2014 Marg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-reads, issues
A dangerous environment, a fourteen year old girl, a baby bonobo and a quest for survival. This novel will appeal to readers who like fast-paced survival and adventure stories and who care about what happens to animals.

Sophie is visiting an animal sanctuary in the African Congo when she becomes isolated and trapped by rebel fighters. With an orphaned baby bonobo to protect, she sets out across a country at war to find her mother and safety for them both. It is a journey of courage and danger bu
Feb 23, 2013 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
A remarkably well-written young adult book about an Congolese-American girl, who spends her school year with her white American father in Miami and her summers with her Congolese mother in Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The novel begins with Sophie heading to visit her mother at work; she founded and operates the only Bonobo Sanctuary in the Congo (the nation formally known as Zaire). On the ride to the Sanctuary, the author does an absolutely fantastic job showing the lack of sta
Dec 25, 2012 Sunday rated it it was amazing
National Book Award YA finalist 2012. Riveting. Didn't want to put it down. Schrefer has mastered a suspenseful narrative of one girl's journey to escape rebels in the Congo while also protecting a beloved young bonobo. Fiction, but Schrefer has mastered the details of a real context - the nature of living in an unstable country, the real life environment and shifts in culture that endanger the bonobos, the personality and daily habits of the bonobo and the strong emotional ties/bonds humans dev ...more
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I write books and then, by an astounding stroke of good fortune, someone publishes them. My first two books, Glamorous Disasters and The New Kid, were for adults, and then I had a momentous lunch with author/editor David Levithan when I became a young adult author.

Since then, you can blame me for a number of titles, including The School for Dangerous Girls, The Deadly Sister, and Endangered. Two
More about Eliot Schrefer...

Other Books in the Series

Ape Quartet (3 books)
  • Threatened (Ape Quartet, #2)
  • Rescued (Ape Quartet, #3)

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“... a recent study showed they were our closest relatives, sharing 98.7% of our DNA.” 1 likes
“I knew at least Banalia was dead; that had happened right in front of my eyes. They would either eat her now or smoke her body to sell the meat. It made my stomach turn--the DNA in that meat was almost 99 percent the same as human DNA; it was nearly cannibalism. But the men were hungry.” 1 likes
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