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(Ape Quartet #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  59 reviews
They grew up together. Now they have to escape together.

Raja has been raised in captivity. Not behind the bars of a zoo, but within the confines of an American home. He was stolen when he was young to be someone’s pet. Now he’s grown up and is about to be sent away again, to a place from which there will be no return.

John grew up with Raja. The orangutan was his friend, hi
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)} I don't think it's necessary to read them in order. I've basically read them all (yes, in order) but there aren't any crossing over themes that will b…moreI don't think it's necessary to read them in order. I've basically read them all (yes, in order) but there aren't any crossing over themes that will be spoiled if you just read whatever first.(less)

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jv poore
Every child wants a pet at some time or another. A dog, kitten, pony or orangutan. Maybe orangutan isn’t typical, but if you grew up watching BJ and the Bear or Every Which Way But Loose, you may see the simian sway. Whatever the animal, it is almost always up to parents to make the decision. Children don’t always know what is best.

When John casually notes the potential appeal of ape ownership while watching an old movie, he was not actually asking for a pet. His dad could dig the draw when he r
Tammi Drevers
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, 2016
I loved this book. Raja the orangutan is such a lovable character, he has such an amazing personality. Each book by Schrefer makes me love the great apes even more. I especially loved this book because it gave me a better insight into my father's homeland of Indonesia. ...more
Edward Sullivan
Not as strong as the other first two novels in the cycle but still quite engrossing and compassionate.
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 12-15
Recommended to Beverly by: powell's city of books staff picks/
For his third book in the Ape Quartet, Two time National Book Award Finalist, Eliot Schrefer, takes on the horrors of the exotic pet trade. Protagonist John, when a young child, once mentioned that he would love to have an orangutan, so his too eager to please father brings home a baby one from Sumatra. John and his ape are inseparable, but as the ape grows up and becomes stronger and harder to control, the desperate family must keep it locked in a trailer. When his father gives the orangutan to ...more
Kellee Moye
Full review with teaching tools:

I think out of the three Ape Quartet books published so far, this is the one that is going to hit closest to home for many. It will make many readers uncomfortable and want to make a change. First, it takes place in the United States unlike Africa like the first two. Second, it really digs into an issue that is still very much prominent here–animal injustice.

I find Schrefer’s writing to be so beautiful yet so easy to read.
Mindy Mejia
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A solid entry in Schrefer’s ape quartet as we wait for the final book and think about the gorillas to come. For my full review, visit
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! This is the third of four books by Eliot Schrefer that centers on primates.

Rescued features an orangutan named Raja raised by a family with a young boy, John. They in essence become brothers until they are separated when the parents divorce and John's finger gets bitten off by Raja in a scene that made me gasp out loud. I did not see that coming, at all.

The bond between boy and orangutan is somehow put into words and feelings that leap from the page and tug at your heart strings. So
Anna {Follow me for reviews! (✿◡‿◡)}
Raja is a cute orangutan, but I think that what a lot of people miss is that they are not humans! Nor are they domesticated like a dog or cat, so you can't just take them into your home and expect them to behave without their wild nature side. Eventually the babies will grow up.
It was kinda sad because this book did deal with the topic of animal abuse (view spoiler)
Pages For Thoughts
The connection between Raja and John is one of a kind. John considers him his brother. Raja clings to John and loves him. They even have their own language. The only thing that I did not like was that John seemed too mature to be 16, and that his parents did not seem to be assertive and were too carefree. John had a lot of self-conflict. He loves Raja, but deep down he knew that he was not his to keep. I like that he fought for animal rights. This book is inspirational in showing how animals des ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great book in the Ape Quartet series! I love how Eliot Schrefer portrays Raja as deeply human, yet having antics that are so unique to orangutans. Schrefer does an excellent job in painting Raja as a character – one who sometimes flips out at the wrong time but somehow knows what is right and ultimately trusts the right people to get him to safety. And John has grown so much over the years – from a naive young boy who played with his pet orangutan without question to Raja's rescuer who p ...more
I read this book as part of the #yearofya twitter chat featuring middle school books taking place Tues 10/9 at 8PM EST. I have read Schrefer's previous two books in this compelling heartbreaking series and this book was so sad as it covers the loneliness of a child/teen and his pet/brother, orangutan Raja which his father brings back to the US as a pet for his young son, John. Both John and Raja are very sympathetic characters as life (his parents' divorce) and the horrors of endangered animals ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-ya
Wonderful characters and the relationship between John and Raja is very moving. I really enjoy how Schrefer brings to life the humanity of the characters and sheds light on the darker issues and challenges these animals face.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
An explanation of why no one should own an exotic pet. Also asks the questions, should apes have the same rights as humans? A great, thought-provoking middle-reader book. Perfect for a teen environmental club.
Kathy Heare Watts
Jul 24, 2019 added it
Recommended to Kathy by:
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Ethan Choi
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very touching book about friendship. There was a lot of good character development as well as a great theme.
Serine Majid
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's so sad but I love it :D ...more
Amy Fessler
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Left me wanting a sequel!! ♥️
Isabella Albert
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because of this boy and ape that doesn't want to be split apart from each other because the boy is sick. This book got really sad. Shout out to the author of this book. ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't finished reading this book but so far i love it! ...more
Guilt can be a powerful motivator, but in some cases, guilt compounded by compassion, can lead someone to take action. In this book, the third in the Ape Quartet, sixteen-year-old John comes face to face with his own culpability for the fate of Raja, an orangutan who lived with the family in Georgia. John's father worked overseas, and when his ten-year-old son expressed interest in orangutans, he brought home one of the orphaned animals for him. Raja and John bond, of course, and live like broth ...more
Ms. Yingling
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

John's father travels to Africa with his job at a food distributor, and illegally brings back an Orangutan. Raja starts as a cute baby who is glued to John's side, but eventually becomes a rather large and sometimes violent pet to have. When John's father and mother divorce, his father ends up with Raja, and his mother ends up with John. The two shared such a bond, however, that even after Raja bites off John's finger when the two have been separated beca
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the heart-warming story of a boy and his pet orangutan. Yes, you read that right. John has a pet orangutan, Raja, who he's lived with for his entire life. But after John's parents split and his father begins to have financial troubles, Raja's fate becomes a whole lot more complicated. I loved how likable and somehow relatable the characters are in this story, even though the main characters consist of an orangutan and the teenage boy who takes care of him. Not to mention how Eliot Schref ...more
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I’ll ever go to our zoo and observe the orangutans the same way again. Once again Eliot Schrefer has written a story that brings poignancy to the causes of primates world wide. He began with Bonobos in Endangered, following with the book Endangered about chimpanzees. This third book in the trilogy moves to Indonesia, and the loss of habitat of orangutans.
Smuggled into the U.S. for his son John, young Raja soon becomes close as a brother. And sadly, he also becomes imprisoned. Joh
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Humanity is a real sludge pile sometimes. We have moments of brilliance and compassion, but we also tend to think only of ourselves (and not just ourselves, human beings, but ourselves, me personally). All of that comes together in Rescued, which might be my favorite Eliot Schrefer book so far. The entire book is set in motion by the awful and selfish whims of humanity, from the corporations who destroy the jungle for palm oil plantations, to the people like us who ignorantly buy it, to the peop ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
John seldom gets much attention from his corporate businessman father, so when Dad promises to bring him something back a gift from his next trip to Indonesia, John doesn’t expect much. Without consulting his wife or the animal authorities, John’s father thoughtlessly brings back a baby orangutan to be John’s new friend and “brother.” After a tragic accident and a divorce, John and the now much larger and primate named Raja are separated. Once John’s father loses his job and home, there is no ch ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was one of those, "Oh no, this book is making me cry on public transit" books.

What an astounding story, hitting real, hard issues through the perspective of a realistically written teenaged, American boy.

When John's father comes home with a baby orangutan, ten year-old John gets not only a friend and companion but a brother. John and Raja grow up together, crafting a unique understanding and sign language between them - until a vicious accident pulls them apart. Years later, John must tra
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
In the age of the musical Hamilton, where people are learning about history and being entertained at the same time, a book comes along that will also educate, but on a national global issue and it does as well entertain the reader. This is the story of a boy living in Atlanta, who is given an orangutan by his father. They live fairly peaceably for years, it's not an easy situation, but they manage. Until one day Raja, that's orangutan's name, in a fit of anger bites off John's finger. Things do ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rescued is the third book in Schrefer's "ape quartet" and my first book by him. (BTW, these books are "stand alones" - you need not read the other two first!) It is the story of an orangutan baby named Raja who is brought home by a father as a gift to his young son without consultation with mom nor thought about the orangutan's ultimate well being or future. Raja is a great source of joy for John, the young boy, until the life of the family - all four of them, mom, dad, John, and Raja - is rippe ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Schrefer, Eliot Rescued, 272 pages. Scholastic Press, 2016. $19. Language: PG (5 swears, 0 ‘f’).

When John was in the 5th grade, his father brings him back a baby orangutan from one of his business trips to Indonesia for a pet. When John is 12, the orangutan, Raja, bites off one of his fingers. When he is 14, his parents divorce and John leaves Raja behind with his father when he moves across the country with his mother. Now 16, John finds out that his Dad is losing the family home and he is sell
Brandy Painter
This is the third in a quartet of books Schrefer is writing about apes and their human counterparts. Endangered and Threatened were both short listed for the National Book Award and I loved both of those book. I was less impressed overall with this one. It is different from the other two in that it mostly takes place in America (there is a trip to Indonesia eventually). This book is about wild animals kept as pets and it does an excellent job of highlighting all of the problematic issues with th ...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

Other books in the series

Ape Quartet (4 books)
  • Endangered (Ape Quartet #1)
  • Threatened (Ape Quartet #2)
  • Orphaned (Ape Quartet #4)

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