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The Hermit Thrush Sings
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The Hermit Thrush Sings

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  289 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In the tradition of Lois Lowry's The Giver, Susan Butler's futuristic first novel tells the triumphant story of Leora's refusal to conform to the rigid rules set forth by a tyrannical government.

Leora has a gift, and a secret. She can see things no one else can, but can only draw them with her one webbed hand.

Several generations have passed since North America was struck b
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Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 13th 2001 by Laurel Leaf (first published March 15th 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 516)
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Colin
i've read this book 3 or 4 times now, most recently because I just recommended it to a friend. It's got bad-ass disability politics, a radical feminist uprising, a genderqueer element, a not-too-trite multiracial cast of characters. Oh, and cute animals. What more could one need?
Nat Smith
umm here is the list:
women rebels/revolutionaries
multiracial revolution, led by brown folks
connection/communicatiuon between human and animal
a small amount of dis/Ability analysis
gender bending
taking down a racist, sexist, anti-natural world dictatorship
lovely.
MsEarthIntruder
I really, really wanted to like this more than I did. 5-star reviews touted a multiracial- and women-led revolution and a brief look at gender, disability and human communication with the non-human world. I was psyched. And then disappointed.

Leora always knew whether she could or couldn't trust a situation or person and she was always right. Everything always worked out. Bad things almost happened but never amounted to anything. The placement of obvious hints meant that the reader could always a
...more
Socket Klatzker
May 14, 2008 Socket Klatzker rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All who entertain post-revolutionary fantasies
oH mY oH MY! I was going through a phase of not having a good book to sink my teeth into and then bam! Along came this masterpeice. What a great great great read. I won't give it away. It made me repent for ever making fun of sci-fi geeks.
Katie
This scifi/fantasy crossover was original but not pristine. In this futuristic society an asteroid had hit Earth, wiping out civilization as we know it and birthing several species of mutants. Some humans also have mutations and they are locked up in the Institution to protect the rest of humanity. Leora has one webbed hand and the day finally arrives when her Stepmother tries to have her shipped off to the Institution. She decides to run away to the wilderness beyond the walls of the town to fi ...more
Cordelia Albertson
One of the best novels I have had the privilege of reading. Butler makes sure the plot and theme are incredibly consistent without being boring. The world she writes is original, her characters fail every stock test I've come across. A brilliant dystopia with a fantastical air to it--there is no novel quite like The Hermit Thrush Sings.
Shaya
Nov 03, 2014 Shaya added it
Shelves: 2014, science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Sorensen
A fascinating combination of The Giver, Sasquatch, and maybe one of Shannon Hale's books. Three stars only because I wasn't in the mood for a children's story when I read this, but it was really good.
Emma K
I read this book when I was younger and I just remember really enjoying it
Aerin
It's been ages since I read this book, but I'm currently trying to convince my school library to get it. I was in elementary school, I know, when I last read this, and I remember it had such an impact on me, even then. The part I remember most was that she sewed her skirt into breeches--imagine my shock! And then the fact that I had to ask my mother what breeches were. *chuckles* But it was a fantastic book, and I presume, remains the same. I just wish I could find a copy of it for my own.
Kyrsten
I read this book in the seventh grade because someone else had it and I was jealous. We aren't all perfect. Yet throughout my life from that point I've recalled this book, both its title and its author, simply because it is that incredible. Though it might be written for a younger crowd don't simply overlook it, especially if you enjoy the Hunger Games series. Though they have their comparisons they are still vastly different and deserving to be read and thoroughly enjoyed.
Valerie
I only wish there were a sequel. YA sci fic, post-disaster country with mutated plants and animals (and humans) from a meteor that, among other things, caused nuclear power plants to explode. The rulers have carefully kept everyone under their thumbs and it's up to our young heroine to find her own strength and save the day. It really has the feel of more story to come - lots of unanswered questions and unresolved dilemmas.
Rebecca
The descendent of a clairvoyant woman who forsaw the the coming of the meteor that destroyed Earth, outcast Leora is considered a mutant because of her deformed hand and her premonitions of the future. Striking out on her own, she discovers the wilderness is not as dangerous as the dictator who rules what is left of civilization has said it is. She finds the sister she thought dead, and joins a band of rebels who fight for freedom.
Ivy
I read this book in Jr. High. It was my first exposure to "dystopian" literature and I was instantly hooked. The same anxious details and painfully human characters that have J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins such celebrated authors were found long before at Butler's hand. It is a book I would recommend to anyone, especially those with a love for the distopic genre.
Kristen
May 19, 2009 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tricia and Shanda
I thought this was a great book. It had a small similarity to Hunger Games. Not in the sense of children fighting to the death, but of a young girl searching in a time of turmoil in what is left of the world after a "Disaster" has happened and the "Rulers" are causing people to distrust people from the other villages and the new world around them.
Kelsey Karin
Hard to find now, but a terrific book that I've reread on multiple occasions. The characters are vibrant, the scenery exotic and the story imaginative.

Part of its 5 star rating comes from the fact that this book was really the first of its kind I had read at the time. It was a new and strange world that I love to re-enter over and over!
Meredith
I quite liked this book, but I had a couple of complaints. The ending felt a little abrupt to me, and throughout I wished I had a bit more information. If there had been about 100 more pages, that would have done it. It was still good, but I didn't feel like I quite understood the world and all the characters in the space provided.
Rachel
One of my friends promised me that this book was AWESOME and would CHANGE MY LIFE. I read it and was underwhelmed. And read it later. Still underwhelmed.

I dunno - I found the main character completely boring and the prose was infantile.
Lindsey
I think the futuristic bit and birmbas were a bit too strange for me. Though I can understand what the story sets out to accomplish I still didn't fall in love with it.

Favorite quote: "I never heard of anybody as was hurt by hoping"
Kristin
I think that I would have liked this book more if had given a little more detail to the main characters. Also I thought the book was mostly dry. It seemed to lack the juice that every good book has.
bruin
yum. post-apocalyptic young adult fiction recommended by colin! delightful, complicated characters. revolution. uprising. badass characters with dis/abilities. thank goodness for the library!
Anamarie GunnyBunny
AMAZING. This has a great depiction of the future. I could NOT put this down. Well, that and it was the only thing to do on an 8 hour car trip. Great book. Amazing, really.
AnnMarie Johnson
Loved this as much the second time as the first. That time, I found the author and emailed her asking after a sequel. Sadly, there is none.
Soad
i loved it i read it when i was in the fifth grade ive been looking all over for it so i can read it again and i finally found it
Jennifer Wyld
I liked it, a good young adult dystopian novel about survival and all that. A lot of my students enjoy this book
Gina
A good story about courage and survival in a world that has changed beyond understanding. I really liked this book!
wheels
I read this about a year ago. If you want to exit real-time for a few hours - I recommend this heart-warming tale.
Silverose
Another well done YA dystopia. My only real complaint is that the story ended....I wanted to know what happened next!
Heath
It is so simple, but covers so many big themes and ideas. Besides that, it is just entertaining.
Vicki
I enjoyed picking this book up and reading it in one sitting.
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