Book Review|Half Brother

Hey everyone! Welcome to Monday. I know most people dread Mondays. If I wasn’t on summer break, I would be dreading it too. Hang in there! Today I am going to be doing a book review. I will be reviewing Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel. I finished this book a while ago but am just know doing a review. Without further ado, here we go!


Title: Half Brother

Author: Kenneth Oppel

# of pages: 375
Genre: Fiction, Animals
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Goodreads Rating: 4/5 stars
Amazon Rating: 4.7/5 stars

Amazon Summary:

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.”


Critic Reviews (Credit Given):

“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.


* “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

My Thoughts:

This was a great book. I took half a star off because it’s very similar to another book. Half Brother is about a boy named Ben Tomlin. When his mom brings home a chimpanzee from a zoo, Ben doesn’t like him at all. As Ben gets to know the chimp later named Zan, he falls in love. Unfortunately, Zan is part of animal testing. He is to be treated like a human and to learn sign language. Zan feels like more than a test subject to Ben. His dad feels otherwise. Ben’s dad feels that he is getting to close with Zan and tries to separate them and ruin their close relationship. Ben is outraged. His dad is rough and mean to Zan. To him he’s a chimp. To Ben, he’s family. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you can’t handle some harsh moments. This was a great read and really opened my eyes to how terrible animal testing really is.


That’s a wrap! Have you read this book? If so, what did you think about it? If you haven’t, did this review make you want to? Let me know!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more book reviews!

~Makayla the Bookworm 😀

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