School for Apes

Hazeldene, a school with a secret set deep in the heart of rural England.

Dominic Atwell, a boy who finds it difficult to fit into school life.

But when he is expelled from yet another school, his parents take steps to send Dominic to a special school. A school designed to take only the most special and unique children. A school, that doesn’t ask questions. A school, which will take anybody for a price: A school that offers the highest in education…a school for Apes.

What is the secret behind the doors of Hazeldene, a school where nothing is what it seems…and for Dominic nothing will be the same again.



About the Author

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald was born in the English city of Coventry in 1970. From an early age, Andrew loved books and would spend hours sitting reading and writing, creating new worlds and people. But, he never pursued a literary career electing to leave school and seek employment rather than continue with his studies and go to college.
In 1991, his life changed forever as he met his future wife: Mary and together they went on to get married and have four beautiful daughters. He would spend the next few years going from one job to another whilst supporting his family. Along the way he never stopped dreaming of writing and would create short stories to tell his children to entertain them.
It would be in 2013, that his life would change and the birth of his first granddaughter saw him make to decision to turn a past time into a career. His love of science-fiction and in particular Doctor Who that saw him write his first feature length title and although it never got published, it gave him the confidence to continue.
He was commissioned to write two short stories for a Doctor Who project in 2015 which ultimately never got published. Following these two horror stories were completed and although a lot of interest was generated by these, neither title was published. Despite all of this, with each rejection letter he continued believing in his dream. In 2016, he would publish his second full length story Rain through Amazon publishing and in 2018 School for Apes became his first release through an established publishing company.
Andrew McDonald still lives in Coventry with his wife and family where he writes and dreams.


School For Apes Reviews

The first thing you see when looking for something to read is the cover. If the cover is bland, you won't pick it up and read the back. Your cover should be eye catching with a hint on what the book is about without giving the story away. School for apes teases you with what the story is about. The colors don't overpower the images. The title blends everything together. This cover offers a look at the unique story within. For this I award five stars. McDonald opens up a world of monkeys that I never knew existed. He defines each species with enough detail for the reader to know what he is talking about. Even though the main character at the school was a human he didn't make a big deal of it. The way he explains how everyone understand each other is unique and believable. At times I felt the monkeys were detailed a little too much and the main character needed a little more. Overall, I give these four stars. This book is original and a fresh way to deal with a growing issue. McDonald has taken on bullying in a way that shows a bully seeing he is one by being bullied himself. I applaud you for this. Five stars. Every book has a plot with a subplot hidden within. It doesn't overpower the plot though. In school for apes McDonald has developed an engaging story that pulls the reader in. His subplot is subtle and doesn't take away from his main storyline. Five stars. When people pick up a book it is to escape reality or to go on an adventure. For the reader to fill this the book has to entertain and keep their attention. As an avid reader I love a stay up all-night kind of read. School For Apes is a good book to help children realize they are bullies. The way McDonald has dealt with this pressing issue without shoving it in the readers face makes this a must read for children. I didn't stay up all night with this book. I give it four stars. Overall, I give School for Apes a 4 ½ star rating. This book is plot driven and is a good read. I look forward to seeing what McDonald comes up with next. – Reviewed by Award Winning Author, Shannon Simpson

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With School for Apes, Andrew McDonald creates a truly unique reading experience. This well-paced novel tells the story of Dominic, a boy who has a hard time staying out of trouble. Finally kicked out of his school, he's given an opportunity to attend an alternative school, and plunged into a surreal world where his classmates are all apes, and he is a curiosity to be gawked at.

One of the strong points of McDonald is how each of the characters are painted with vivid clarity. From Dominic, who doesn't quite know why he does the things he does, to the bouncy and energetic Fiver, a chimpanzee who is tasked with helping guide Dom at his new school, each character is memorable and lovable (or downright dastardly... Like Blue, the surly mandrill who's vowed to make Dom's life miserable.) I especially liked McDonald's descriptions of the various species that Dom encounters as he begins to adapt, forge friendships, and face hardships, all while slowly learning about himself.

If you're willing to suspend just enough disbelief to allow yourself to be swept away to Hazeldene School within the pages of this book, you'll not only find an entertaining story, but a little food for thought as well. McDonald tackles the subject of bullying in a unique way as Dom eventually comes to important realizations about his own past behaviors at his old school. He also touches on environmental issues, again, from the unique perspectives of the students and staff at Hazeldene.

This story can be enjoyed by people of all ages, but I think there is a tilt toward middle grade -- especially in tone and word count. There was enough humor and wit to keep me smiling, although McDonald was not afraid to take head-on the sensitive issue of bullying. – Reviewed by Scott  Pinkowski via Goodreads

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Thoroughly entertaining, with the distinct feel of a big budget movie throughout.

Fascinated by how the idea of a school for apes might be held up when I first heard of this book, the natural magic of it as a place for the confrontations that unfold makes a deep sense. It's a primal kind of magic, that throws its answers to bullying at us in a profound levelling at our nature. -Reviewed by Gareth Rosser via Goodreads

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This is a highly imaginative and creative story that tackles bullying from both sides- perpetrator and victim. At no time is the book preachy but instead draws you into unexpected places and events which are at the same time real and ridiculous. There is a strong current of wacky humor throughout. My only puzzlement is exactly who is the audience for the book. I enjoyed it as an adult with the lens of reading it as a middle school book, but I know the book is intended for all ages. Regardless, the book is a fun read that deals with a subject most of us humans can easily relate to.- Reviewed by Kathleen Friend MD Via Amazon

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Fabulous read!

Brilliant book for both children and adults alike. The story is not only original, but it also explains hard and confusing social and emotional situations to the young readers in such a fantastic way. You don't realize it at first but the woven throughout the already brilliant story are messages and lessons in self-belief, resilience and most importantly that we can make mistakes and do bad things but that doesn't make us inherently bad. that with understanding, awareness, and effort we can turn negatives into positives. Highly recommend...- Reviewed by Man Maker via Amazon

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Hazeldene, a school with a different approach. Will Dominic be excluded again?

Dominic is a boy who is used to being on the wrong side of his teachers. He has moved from school to school due to his 'unteachable behavior'. Dominic can't understand why he keeps doing bad things and detentions, punishments and angry adults hasn't changed his ways. He admits he revels in the attention good or bad. On page 24 Dominic hadn't even realized he was doing something bad until it was too late! He is stuck in a pattern of behavior and unable to think about the cause and effect of his actions. His teachers weren't helpful, no support given and eventually he is excluded.
Enter Hazeldene. It’s a school with a different approach. A place your child can develop and explore his or her own personality. They embrace uniqueness; however, will Dominic thrive in a 'School for Apes?' It's out of the box thinking! It sounds crazy! Despite the species difference they overcome the barriers and are taught, as we grow, we learn, we learn to become aware of the world around us and our effect on those closest to us and all creatures we influence. Our lives are important. Hold your dreams tights and you can achieve. On page 92 Dominic is sent to his new headteachers office. He fears the worse. He is used to being blamed and shouted at so stays quiet. However, this time the headteacher listens. Dominic is met with warmth and compassion. After some time, this approach works. Dominic realizes after seeing the effects of bullying that he wants to be good, he wants to strive! He knows who he wants to be. He was shown kindness and a listening ear without judgement. He has supportive teachers who listened, understood, and never gave up. At the end Dominic couldn’t stop grinning. The headteacher says 'you both should be proud of this young man, there were a couple of occasions but on the whole boys will be boys and his grades improved tenfold'. For the first time a good report.
To summarize- Dominic’s behavior is ingrained. He isn’t thinking so can’t change. He needed a co-thinker, someone who listened without judgement and help him think other ways. His new school Hazeldene supported him in a positive way which enabled him to be who he wanted to be. -Reviewed by Lynel Holloway via Amazon

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Great for individuals to read, families or in class.

A great read, ideal for families or to share in class. thought provoking for learning about how kids see school, bullying and experiencing barriers to learning. It may not be written with these things in mind, but the elements are there under a great, fun story, so why not use them. -Reviewed by Anthony C. Hodierne via Amazon

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Great Book!

Bought as a gift for my husband. Unusual story line - he really enjoyed it. -Reviewed by Scribe via Amazon

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A good easy read.

Easy to read story with the main character Dominic is very likable. The misunderstood boy that comes good at the end proving he is not all bad. Ideal book to teach children we are all different. – Reviewed by Kevin G. via Amazon

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Dominic Atwell is a bully. He has been kicked out of every school in his district. His mother refuses to homeschool after he attacked her, and his father won't allow him at his construction site after he damaged equipment. His parents are desperate. Then a miracle, Hazeldene school accepts him. It is a school for the very special. Paying an exorbitant tuition Dominic becomes a student.

What is Hazeldene? It's a very special school, a school for Apes, Chimpanzees, Lemurs, and all of the simian variety. Suddenly Dominic can't be a bully and lessons are a lot harder than he ever imagined.

This book gives us an inside look at a different world where we are not the top dog or should I say top monkeys. Fascinating with its nuances, interactions and thought-provoking dialogue, School for Apes is a runaway hit for all who wonder what if. – Reviewed by Janet

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How do you feel about bullying? Have you ever been bullied? Do you believe in karma? Guess what?

Just when Dominic has pushed the limits with his school antics and has gotten on his parent's last nerve his dad just happens to find an off-the-wall newspaper for a school for unique and special children. Dad says "special"? Well, maybe that's what we need. The best part is what it doesn't say. A must-read to see.

I found School for Apes entertaining in ways, even a little sad at times, but when the " karma so to speak" literally with what goes around comes around you won't be able to do anything to keep yourself from laughing. – Reviewed by Carol


Other Books by This Author

The world five minutes into the future is a world far different from our own. Devastation to an extent which we can only dream of in our nightmares plague the Earth and desolation walk hand in hand with fear and contempt. Disease, famine and war have scarred the surface of the land and where people once lived in prosperity, now there is nothing but an empty space where hope once flourished. Where towns and cities stood, in their place now stand examples to a scarred world as vast domed constructions gaze down over the landscape, passing their own quiet judgement on mankind’s folly. These are the city states and are all that remains of society, all that remains of hope... But even inside these vast complexes, the very degradation of society prospers, breeding contempt and deceit within the lower levels of the cities, while the rich grow richer, looking down from on high. Each city state is connected via a series of hollow Deadfall iv tubes which run above the hostile ground, standing at over one thousand feet in height and supported by vast concrete legs, piled deep into the damaged surface. The transit system operates by a network of tube-trains, transporting populace, trade and consumables from state to state without the need the transverse the outlands of the planet. This is the future. This is the new world. This is the world with no hope. Welcome to life... Welcome citizens... Welcome to Earthshock..
Fire and Ice
An expedition to find a lost colony is attacked by the planet itself but manages to send a distress call back to Earth before all communication is lost. A rescue ship is sent but experiences difficulties upon making landfall. The ship’s crew are attacked, and the craft disabled by the jungle as it comes to life and in the night air a chilling voice through the trees…hungry! The surviving crew decide to try and find the lost colony and expedition while repairs are ongoing on the craft. They discover hostile natives, a jungle filled with threats from wild animals to attacking vegetation and a secret at the place of fire and ice which threatens everyone on the planet.
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