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The Hermit Thrush Sings

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  350 Ratings  ·  40 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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Best Sci Fi Books with Female Main Characters
253rd out of 693 books — 822 voters
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8th out of 13 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 666)
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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.
Katie
Jan 23, 2010 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Caitlin
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
Kyrsten
Jul 09, 2011 Kyrsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Socket Klatzker
May 14, 2008 Socket Klatzker rated it it was amazing
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.
Macklin
Oct 19, 2015 Macklin rated it really liked it
The Hermit Thrush Sings is one of the first dystopian novels I have ever read. I read it first when I was ten, and read it at least once a year in middle school. It tells the story of Leora who has a mutation in a world where mutants are sent to sanitoriums. The world you figure out as you go along is ours after a nuclear disaster. It actually reminds me of The Chrysalids, but I didn't read that until I got to high school. Leora is an orphan and raised by her aunt. Like Jane Eyre she is despised ...more
Cordelia Albertson
Sep 21, 2014 Cordelia Albertson rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 01, 2015 Shaya rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Sorensen
Nov 06, 2014 Katie Sorensen rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-chapter
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.
Hana Moskowitz
Sep 29, 2015 Hana Moskowitz rated it it was amazing
one of the best books I have ever read. I remember reading it as a child and I still enjoy it just as much now as I did back then. I wish there was another book...
Emma K
May 20, 2014 Emma K rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was younger and I just remember really enjoying it
Aerin
Apr 01, 2009 Aerin rated it it was amazing
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.
Liz
May 27, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it
Great kids chapter book! Good themes too. conversation starter about government, racism, bullying, family and more. i loved this book!
The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because it definitely needs a sequel! Not sure if there is one, but not completely satisfied with the ending if there isn't one.
I highly recommend this book! Similar to Hunger Games or Divergent as far as the general plot goes, but appropriate for a younger audience.
Valerie
Jul 17, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
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
Mar 26, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 14, 2015 Ivy rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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
Jun 01, 2009 Meredith rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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.
SR
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
Jan 10, 2010 Lindsey rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult, hated
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
Mar 31, 2009 Kristin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2007 bruin rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2010 Anamarie GunnyBunny rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 25, 2011 Soad rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 06, 2008 Jennifer Wyld rated it liked it
I liked it, a good young adult dystopian novel about survival and all that. A lot of my students enjoy this book
Gina
Jun 25, 2008 Gina rated it really liked it
A good story about courage and survival in a world that has changed beyond understanding. I really liked this book!
wheels
May 08, 2009 wheels rated it it was amazing
I read this about a year ago. If you want to exit real-time for a few hours - I recommend this heart-warming tale.
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