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Autumn 2010 Kids' Next List
“I really want this story to be true. Ben Tomlin's dad has brought home a baby chimp for their family to raise as part of his psychology research. Oppel doesn't give you every moment, but it feels like you have lived them all. Watching Ben move from boy to young man as he struggles with Zan's fate after the funding is pulled from his dad's experiment, is so powerful. Just read it, it's worth your time.”
— Laura DeLaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID
From a Printz-Honor-winning author, an absorbing novel about a teen boy whose scientist parents take in a chimpanzee.
All happy families are alike. Ben Tomlin's unhappy family is unhappy in a very different way.
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan--an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben's father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimps can acquire advanced language skills. Ben's parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he's not the only one his father's going to scrutinize.
It isn't long before Ben is Zan's favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true--between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.
About the Author
Kenneth Oppel is the bestselling author of Skybreaker and Airborn, a Printz Honor Book. He lives in Toronto with his family and can be found online at www.kennethoppel.ca.
Praise for Half Brother:
* "Deftly integrating family dynamics, animal-rights issues, and the painful lessons of growing up, Half Brother draws readers in from the beginning and doesn't let go. The carefully crafted characters will be an easy connection for teens and the interpretation of the animal-testing controversies of the 1970s will provide an alternate viewpoint for animal-book lovers." - SLJ, starred review
"Set in the simpler time of the early '70s, this well-plotted novel weaves together themes of animal rights, family issues and the cost of animal research....There are no easy answers, just a thoughtful portrayal of real people grappling with tough questions." - Kirkus
"Half Brother is highly recommended for all YA collections....a funny and exceptional story" - VOYA.