272 pages; published October 2012
When civil war breaks out in the Congo, 14-year-old Sophie is forced to go on the run and survive solo in the jungle in order to save herself and Otto – a young ape living in her mother’s bonobo sanctuary.
A survival story. A wild adventure. A brutal civil war. And an adorable bonobo (a lesser-known primate like a chimpanzee, only nicer). It’s all here.
Sophie begins the story in a bit of a funk, leaving her home in Florida to spend another summer with at her mother’s bonobo sanctuary in the Congo. She finds her purpose in adopting Otto, an abused baby bonobo that she unwisely rescues from a man on the side of the road. After a summer literally attached to Otto, things fall apart in the Congo. The president is killed. The country – and the bonobo sanctuary – are taken over by unruly bands of vicious soldiers.
Sophie flees into the jungle with Otto, using all his animal instincts and her ingenuity to try to survive and save them all.
In addition to the heart-pounding adventure, this book offers a rich perspective on political instability, child soldiers, animal trafficking, and the will to survive.