Michelle Kadarusman, 1969-

Book - 2022

"Perspectives of two Indonesian middle-schoolers and a caged orangutan entwine. Wealthy Malia faces the consequences of disobediently circulating an anti-palm-oil petition at her school, resulting in suspensions for herself, her best friend, and her teacher. Ari, fortunate to be plucked from his impoverished village to attend school and compete in chess tournaments, helps the uncle who is hosting him but worries about Ginger Juice, the orangutan his uncle keeps in a cage. When Ari learns ab...out orangutan rehabilitation centers from Malia's petition, the young people unite to plot a rescue."--

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School fiction
Toronto, Ontario, Canada : Pajama Press 2022.
First edition
Physical Description
211 pages : maps ; 21 cm
Main Author
Michelle Kadarusman, 1969- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Seventh-graders Malia and Ari seem unlikely to cross paths. Malia has had a privileged upbringing at one of Indonesia's best schools, and Ari is grateful to be attending a less prestigious academy in a neighboring town. But one subject binds them together: orangutans. Malia is an outspoken critic of palm oil plantations that decimate the apes' rain forest home, while Ari has a deep affinity for his uncle's caged pet orangutan, Ginger Juice, along with guilt about her captivity. When the kids' lives finally overlap, a series of events changes their lives—and Ginger Juice's fate—in ways they never could've imagined. The expansive story, nimbly told from both human and orangutan viewpoints, gives glimpses into different class, race, and even species experiences while introducing readers to life in Indonesia and the plight of the orangutans. Ari and Malia are warm and well-intentioned guides, and it's impossible to resist Ginger Juice's gentle charms. A compelling call to action and a crucial reminder that, while doing what is right is not always easy, it is always worthwhile. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

From the Governor General’s Award-nominated author of Music for Tigers and Girl of the Southern Sea, a passionate story about environmental activism, difficult choices, and the cost of doing the right thing

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An honest and stirring novel about the choices made by young environmental activists, and the balancing act between consequence and triumph Malia has had a privileged upbringing in Indonesia, but since her Indonesian father died, her Canadian mother wants to return to her own family on the other side of the world. Malia is determined to stay. Indonesia is her home, and she loves it. Besides, if she leaves, how can she continue to fight for her country’s precious rainforests? Ari knows he is lucky to be going to school and competing on the chess team, even if it means an endless round of chores at his uncle’s restaurant. Back in his home village, he and his cousin Suni dreamed about getting a chance like this. But now he is here without her, and the guilt is crushing him. As if that weren’t enough, he’s horribly worried about Ginger Juice, his uncle’s orangutan. The too-small cage where she lives is clearly hurting her body and her mind, but where else can she go? The rainforest where she was born is a palm oil plantation now. In Berani, Governor General’s Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman spins together three perspectives: Malia, who is prepared to risk anything for her activism, Ari, who knows the right path but fears what it will cost, and Ginger Juice, the caged orangutan who still remembers the forest and her mother. The choices the young people make will have consequences for themselves, for Ginger Juice, and for others, if they are brave enough—or reckless enough—to choose.