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by Betty Levin

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60819-097-0
Publisher: Namelos

Willow, the second-person narrator in Thorn (2005), determines to leave the village of the People of the Singing Seals before the male elders give her to one of the “Uncles” (all elder males are uncles) in their desperate hope to produce healthy babies. The plot is driven by Willow’s need to be free of her clan and their desperation. Her single-minded trek forces her through the emergent winter; she is supported by the knowledge and skills she developed in her tomboy years and a last-minute gift from a village boy. This book’s worldbuilding is firmly rooted in Thorn’s island home, and a chance meeting with one of the greatly feared Others fills in facts about the missing history and challenges the tenets of her upbringing. Themes examined in this novel include the reconciliation of friendship with independence and the obligation to challenge falsity in word and deed. This exciting read can stand on its own but will also appeal to readers of the first book and of Lois Lowry’s Giver and companions. (Fiction. 11-14)