Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Title: Threatened

Author: Eliot Schrefer

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Source: Netgalley (I also purchased a copy from Scholastic reading clubs)

Goodreads Summary:
When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.
Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.

Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.

As he did in his acclaimed novel Endangered, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.

My Thoughts:
Threatened shows the plight of the chimpanzees as well as the struggles of people in poor countries like Gabon.  As in Endangered, the setting of this book acts almost as another character, driving the actions of the protagonist.  Luc is in a very precarious situation from the very beginning of the book.  Going into the jungle with a foreigner who is less aware of the dangers of the jungle is a difficult venture.  Luc is not sure about trusting Prof but has no choice once he realizes that he owes this man his hands and his life.  Chimpanzees are quite aggressive and Luc and Prof find themselves in a dangerous situation from the beginning of their adventures. As the story unfolds, the author manages to give the reader a much broader picture of the chimps and their habits.  I was enthralled with the story from the very beginning and I know my students will love it too.  Mr. Schrefer is planning to write a series of four books, each starring a different great ape in its natural habitat.  I love this idea.  I have learned so much about bonobos and chimpanzees from reading these two books.  Likewise, I have learned about living conditions in both Congo and Gabon.  Young adults should know about the way people live in many areas of the globe.  Threatened explores the story of a young AIDS orphan.  This is a situation that so many young people find themselves in, and I am glad that Eliot Schrefer is shedding light on this issue.  You will fall in love with Luc and his friends Omar, Mango, and Drummer.  I highly recommend this book to grades 8 and up.

5 out of 5 stars

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