In my mind, K.A. Applegate is the queen of terrifying young adult scifi books (Remnants), but The One And Only Ivan proves how talented she truly is.
Ivan is a gorilla. He lives in something akin to a circus, with his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the dog. Julia, the daughter of the janitor, often visits him and brings him paper and crayons. Ivan is an artist.
Then one day a new baby elephant arrives, Ruby. She becomes popular, but is very sad and misses her home with the other elephants. She challenges Ivan to remember his own past life before he was captured by the humans. And then Stella makes him promise something that will change all their lives.
This sounds like it's all going to be about animal rights and how evil the human race is, but it's really not. There are good humans and bad humans; they don't all get lumped together as beings of pure evil.
Basically, I can break this book down into the following words: adorable; charming; awesome; spectacular; perfect; adorable; charming. Adorable and charming are repeated because it is so adorably charming.
Ivan is just a big sweetie, and Stella's character is wise and wonderful. Ruby is pretty cute too. Bob is awesome. Julia is nice. And even though the plot might be far-fetched, K.A. Applegate pulls it off.
The One And Only Ivan is very short and very sweet. It's definitely the kind of book I'll read over and over again, and you should too.
You might like this if you: like gorillas; like elephants; like adorable sweeteness; are looking for something short but enjoyable; or if you want to have your mind blown by Katherine Applegate's flexible writing.