Kenneth Oppel is a good writer - I have read his 'This Dark Endeavor' series (a prequel series to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley), which I really liked. His writing style is just as great as I've ever read it in this book, a book about Ben, who is a boy who has lived as an only child for the first 13 years of his life - until one day when his scientist parents uproot and replant their family from Toronto, Ontario, to Victoria, British Columbia. Working for a new University, Ben's parents introduce a new little brother to the family who is not quite human.
So, I liked the book - I really did, and this is not a negative review, as I would recommend it to others. I just didn't like parts of it. Personally, I would have been just fine with teaching a chimp sign language and the new family dynamics surrounding it and the big move they had to make, but I did not like the book as much with the underlying theme of Ben trying to get the girl - especially in the way he was doing it, treating it like a science experiment, keeping a log book and all that. I found it did not really add anything to the story for me, it was mainly detrimental. I did not mind it, but I really did not appreciate Ben going on and on about how beautiful the girl (Jennifer) was, and how all he could think about when he had spare time was Jennifer, and how he needed Jennifer, etc., etc. It was just overkill, and I'm sorry, but I do not know of many just-turned-13-year-olds who are like that about trying to be in a serious and committed relationship. I just don't, so it took away from the book for me.
Aside from that though, I really liked the book. Kenneth Oppel has a writing style that is unique, in all the right ways. I do not think it was his best work, but it is something that Kenneth Oppel should be proud of. He managed to capture the essence of completely up and moving far away, with all the feelings that surround it - the excitement, the slight worry and anticipation, as well as the excruciatingly long drive. Kenneth also excellently portrayed the bonds that humans can form with animals, and what we are willing to do to keep those bonds alive. I did see most of the end coming in advanced, but that did not make it any the less the worse. (I am not afraid to admit that a tear was shed.)
So, overall, I say give it a try - don't let my jaded criticisms distract you, this book is really good.
In the meanwhile, stay addicted!