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ThreatenedThreatened by Eliot Schrefer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many thanks to NetGalley and Scholastic for this gripping jungle adventure! Luc is a juvenile who lives in Gabon, Africa. His mother and sister died of AIDS and Luc is working off his debt to Monsieur Tatagani, a sleazy moneylender. He keeps track of all the orphans in his debt, through fear. Luc sees an opportunity to escape when an Arab, Professor Abdul Mohammed (Prof), arriving with a metal case and a monkey, asks Luc to accompany him into the lush jungle, known as Inside, to study chimpanzees for National Geographic. Prof pays off Luc’s debt, thereby freeing him from Tatagani’s ruthless servitude. Despite Luc’s young age, he is a character who is wise beyond his years and will continue to question and worry why Prof chose him for this chimpanzee mission. As Luc and Prof begin their research, Luc learns much from Prof and uses his school knowledge and his mother’s herbal remedies to survive the chaotic life that is the Inside and chimpanzee behavior. Schrefer’s story is compelling and like his first novel, Endangered, the threat to the jungle animals’ existence makes for heart-stopping reading. The reader will grow with Luc as they witness human predators, like Monsieur Tatagani, who kill, trap, and destroy chimpanzee babies, mothers and males. The reader will root for Luc as he forges a relationship with Drummer, the chimpanzee he frees from a trap and as he nurtures Mango, a baby chimpanzee who lost her mother. Will Luc remain Inside and call the chimpanzee community his family? This book will definitely be enjoyed by middle school and high school readers and I highly recommend this book to adults as well as animal lovers . Equally important is the Author’s Note at the end which has so much information and further reading on chimpanzees, Gabon, Jane Goodall, and the AIDS crisis in Africa.


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