In No Entry, Canadian teenager, Yael Amar, signs on to an elephant conservation program and ends up coming face to face with violence, greed, and murder and the taste of a very real danger for all of us: elephant extinction. The story takes place in South Africa’s famous, breathtaking Kruger National Park.
Yael vows to devote herself to saving the planet from human greed and is set to learn all she can about ivory poaching when she accidentally encounters a murderous poaching ring taking place below the surface of her newfound paradise. She receives a second blow when she discovers her idol, Clara Smith, the prestigious and well-respected program director, profits from blood ivory, while preaching about the sanctity of wildlife. Yael is forced to decide on a new mission: expose this poaching ring to the police or run before she becomes their next victim.
On her journey she is accompanied at times by her conservative, naive boyfriend, David and at other times by her new brash best friend, New Yorker Nadine. She is inspired by her African guide Sipho, a poverty stricken artist, professional park ranger, and ultimately, her partner in risking her life. At the same time as Yael is forced to confront the ugly face of elephant slaughter, she grieves the loss of her brother, murdered in a terrorist firebombing before the novel begins. It is this grief that gives her the strength to confront the evil men, who would empty Africa of every last elephant to fill their own pockets.
A hyena darts from the long grass. The muscles in Yael’s neck and shoulders tense and she nearly cries out. Her heart pounds. Sipho said they shouldn’t be here and that’s enough for her. “Maybe we should go,” Yael says. There’s a tremble in her voice.
“Don’t be silly,” Nadine says. She looks pointedly at Sipho’s rifle. Yael notices Nadine’s pistol is inches from her hand. “Ready your camera.”
“If there’s hyena,” he says. “The ground scavengers are here.”
The breeze blows from the west, cooling Yael’s neck and back and pushing any smell in the opposite direction. She was already using the knowledge she’d learned in the camp.
“Damn. An elephant!” Sipho says.
Book Club Discussion Questions
- What is the significance of the title No Entry? Would you have given the book a different title? If yes, what is your title?
- Yael Amar finds herself in extraordinary circumstances in No Entry once she realizes the identity of the poachers. Do you empathize with her? Are any of her circumstances familiar to you?
- How does telling the story from Yael's perspective influence your perception of events? Would Nadine or Sipho have told the story differently? How?
- Did you agree with Yael when she chose to lie to David about what she saw on her off-trail drive?
- What is the central theme of No Entry? Do you feel themes were adequately explored? Were they brought to life in a cliché or in a unique manner?
- Did you learn anything about South Africa from reading No Entry?
Did you learn more about city-life or rural life? Did you learn about African culture?
- Did you find parts of the book interesting even if you did not enjoy them? Can you find a book educational an interesting without enjoying it? For example, you may not have sympathized with Yael, but you did learn something about elephant poaching. Do you agree?
- Did No Entry change your perception of elephant extinction? South Africa? Going on a safari? Did the book make you want to visit Kruger National Park?
- What scene was the most pivotal for the book? How do you think the story would have changed had that scene not taken place?
- What do you think will happen to Yael, Nadine, David and Sipho in the future? What would you like to see in the sequel?
- What is motivating the actions of the sub-characters in the story? What do Yael's parents want from her and what does Yael want from them? What about Jake Woolf? Did he secretly want to replace David as Yael's boyfriend?
- Did you think the ending was appropriate? How would you have liked to have seen the ending go?
Gila Green reads from No Entry