I have to admit--this book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year. On numerous occasions, I picked it up to read it and then put it back down. Now that summer break is upon me, I finally decided to read it. I could not put it down!! It is a phenomenal book that had more heart than I ever could imagine. It also reminded me of a '90s movie that I absolutely loved--Born to Be Wild (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113533/).
Title: Half Brother
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
AR Levels: Interest level--4th to 8th; Book level--4.4; Points--13.0
Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8700023-half-brother
In a nutshell: Ben is your average teenager; his family, however, is a different story. His parents are both scientists who embark on an experimental journey that will change lives in a way they never hypothesized. Around Ben's 13th birthday, his parents bring home a baby chimp that they plan to raise like a human and teach it sign language. The chimp, Zan, quickly becomes Ben's little brother and the bond they build blurs the line between experiment and family. At the same time, Ben is trying to adjust to living in a new city, going to a new school, making new friends (including the breathtaking Jennifer), and coming to terms with the many ways his parents' experiment have changed his life forever. While Ben sees Zan as another member of the family, his father intends to keep things purely scientific, which causes a rift between them and sets into motion a series of events that will keep your heartstrings on the edge of their seat.
I'd recommend it for grades: 6th +; I really do think adults would love this one, too.
I'd recommend it to: Animal lovers; anyone who's into social science, sociology, anthropology, or zoology.
What I liked most about this book: The conflicts are deeper than a lot of YA fiction. This one has both internal and external conflicts and forces you to ask yourself questions about a lot of topics.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There's one point in the book in which Ben walks into Zan's room and sees him playing with his toys in a way that almost resembles a child's tea party.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars