Thirteen-year-old Ben Tomlin has been raised the only child of two scientists, each very dedicated to the world of science and progress. When his parents decide to bring home a newborn chimpanzee to attempt to teach him language, Ben is totally skeptical and unsure of how his life will be changed by an animal living in his house.
Zan integrates into the family much more easily than anyone expected and his language skills grow at an incredible rate. Ben is surprised at how attached he has become to his “little brother” in such a short period of time and spends lots of time with Zan, in between chasing girls, trying to make new friends, and trying to be a typical teenage boy.
Part coming-of-age story, part animal-interest story, Half Brother is an excellent read in terms of plot and character development. Ben is written in such a realistic manner that you’ll become his friend, as well as his cheerleader. He has big ideas for a thirteen-year-old and his determination and heart definitely shine.
Humor is intertwined with the seriousness of the subject manner and you’ll definitely want a tissue or two handy!
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel; Scholastic Press; 2010; $17.99; 12 and up