336p. Scholastic. (Ape Quartet: Vol. 4). Sept. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545655057.
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—In this fourth installment in Schrefer's quartet, early humans make contact with apes many thousands of years ago. Written in verse, the story centers on Snub, a young female gorilla who lives with her extended family in Africa's Great Rift Valley. When a natural disaster strikes, Snub is left as the head of her family and she must protect the younger apes from violence by the "not-gorillas" (the humans). Snub eventually befriends an orphaned human girl who uses her unique skills to help the ape family. Schrefer's deep knowledge and passion for biology, geology, history, and geography is on full display in this emotionally complex tale. Each word is intentional and every shift in the narrative filled with dramatic (though never heavy-handed) purpose. The ways in which Schrefer explores the meaning of home and how it evolves through the introduction of humans is breathtaking. Schrefer's ability to articulate an anthropological rendering of a gorilla's first experiences with humans is both beautiful and brutal. Embedded within the narrative is the story of a daughter taking on the role as head of household and developing confidence in herself, her perspective, and her decisions. The integration of the gorilla's own language is brilliant and elucidates ineffable moments.
VERDICT Filled with deeply resonant moments that move and challenge; highly recommended for all middle grade and young adult collections.

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