Kenneth Oppel’s Half Brother optioned

From Variety – It may only be March, but Kenneth Oppel is already having a very good year. First Summit options his upcoming novel, This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, and now producers Christian Taylor (Hick) and Eva Orner (Gonzo) have optioned another of Oppel’s books, Half Brother.

Set in the 1970s, Half Brother is a coming-of-age story that explores the bond between a teenage boy and a chimpanzee the boy’s scientist father brings home to raise as part of the family.

If this movie gets made, I have a sneaking suspicion we will all be owned by chimpanzee cuteness…

Book Jacket:

For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home his new “baby brother” 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 chimpanzees 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. To him, Zan is only a specimen, no more, no less. And this is going to have consequences. 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.

Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. It’s about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can’t always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it’s a novel you won’t soon forget.

You can read an excerpt here.