Written by Betty Levin
Review by Carol Anne Germain

Thorns conjure up the thought of sharp irritations, but the Thorn of this story is different. He is a young crippled boy banished from the peoples of the High Island, who are optimistic that his exile will bring good fortune to their prehistoric community. His father returns Thorn to the land of his ancestors, the People of the Singing Seals, who are also distrusting of Thorn. As a population facing extinction, they view Thorn as a bad omen.

Even when the People of the Singing Seals abandon Thorn, this young man has a strong resilience. In the most desperate of times, he still generates strength, determination, and solutions. Thorn does develop trust and companionship with Willow, a young girl designated as the next Keeper of Story. The story chapters toggle back and forth between narratives about Thorn and Willow.

Thorn is an excellent role model for young adults. He teaches Willow the importance of fine craft and respect for creating quality work. Levin develops a story that emphasizes the need to do and be as good as you can even in the face of disaster. This story is not an irritant, but a wonderful composition about young adults working together in search of a brighter future.