Sarah's Stars

Maureen Fergus. Ortega
KCP Fiction $18.95 ISBN 978-1-55453-474-6 224 pg.
Reviewed by Koryn, Age 12

“Hey,” interrupted a voice.

Swiveling on one callused knuckle, Ortega saw a middle-aged man in a cheap theatre uniform standing before them.

“I hope you’re not thinking of bringing him into the theatre,” said the man, giving his greasy head a jerk in Ortega’s direction.

“Why not?” demanded Janice, who seemed to have forgotten that going into the theatre wasn’t even part of the plan.

“Well…because!” spluttered the man, gesturing with his hands. “He’s an animal.”

“You’re an animal,” snapped Janice.

Ortega is no ordinary gorilla: he has been trained from birth to be able to function as a normal human. Speaking, writing, all that junk. After ten years of training, it is time for Ortega to enter grade five. A real school, with kids his age. Only these kids are human. As Ortega struggles to fit in, can he find a group of friends who will accept him as an equal?

Ortega is a humorous, witty, and intelligent novel for ages 10-13. It is packed with emotion, and insight into the different lives of her vivid characters. Even though Ortega is a gorilla, he is given a realistic personality that makes him an “equal” with his friends and loved ones. The scientific parts of this book were well written and never boring. This novel seems a bit more geared for boys rather than girls, but I think it is great for both.

Maureen Fergus is a writer who loves to laugh. If you like Ortega, you may also like Exploits of a Reluctant (But Extremely Good-Looking) Hero, and Recipe for Disaster. She has (an extremely awesome) habit of collecting stuffed animals.

I give Ortega four and one-half stars.



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