With a thick finger he slowly traced the path of a stray raindrop that had landed near the corner of his eye and trickled down his cheek. And he thought to himself that it was probably a very good thing that gorillas didn't know how to cry.

Raised in a laboratory, Ortega might seem nearly human to his scientist-caregivers, but to the children at his new school, a talking gorilla is nothing but a freak. Unless he wants to spend the rest of his life locked in a cage, however, Ortega is going to have to change people's minds.

More than a comic-adventure novel, Ortega asks the reader to reflect upon the limits of science, imagine how it feels to be profoundly different from those around you and, most of all, consider what it really means to be human.

Awards & Reviews

“The book is a very enjoyable read that anyone who has ever felt like an outsider who doesn't fit in; in other words, everyone will be able to relate to an aspect of Ortega and will view the world and the people and animals in it with increased compassion.”
— CM Magazine, April 2010
“The story's excitement and suspense as well as the emotional drama will ensnare readers. This interesting, affecting novel will definitely find an audience.”
— School Library Journal, July 2010
2011 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2011 - Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Award, Short-listed
2011 - McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, Manitoba Writers' Guild, Winner
2011 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2010 - Best Best Fiction, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed

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