The Forbidden Land

Overview

The uncles want new, unflawed infants to take the place of the births that have failed. Willow notices the eyes of the uncles following her while she performs her daily tasks. The uncles are already sorting out which of them should father the next child.

But Willow has other plans. She is building a boat out of reeds, which she'll use to escape from the People of the Singing Seals. She feels as if her whole life has been a preparation for the ...

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The Forbidden Land

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Overview

The uncles want new, unflawed infants to take the place of the births that have failed. Willow notices the eyes of the uncles following her while she performs her daily tasks. The uncles are already sorting out which of them should father the next child.

But Willow has other plans. She is building a boat out of reeds, which she'll use to escape from the People of the Singing Seals. She feels as if her whole life has been a preparation for the launching.
When the boat is destroyed, Willow has no alternative but to head inland. Against the advice of her friends, Crab and Thistle, Willow follows the path of her mentor, Great Mother, who was banished into the forbidden land before she could finish teaching Willow their people's Story. Accompanied only by a wild dog, Willow embarks on a journey that will bring her a new life ... or death in the wilderness.
Set in a stark post-apocalyptic world, The Forbidden Land tells the story of a young woman who risks solitude and danger to escape a life of servitude, drudgery, and bleakness.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
When her boat sinks, nearly killing her friend Hazel, Willow knows she has to leave. If the uncles are not able to take Hazel as a wife to bear healthy children for the community, Willow will be their next choice. Since the village turned their backs on Great Mother and her stories, Willow's role as the next Keeper of Story has not been respected. Willow follows the Great Mother's path to the Forbidden Land, accompanied only by a friendly dog. While facing wild dogs, hunger, and the fear of the unknown, Willow finds help from the last of the Others. Although the back cover describes this story as "post-apocalyptic," readers who enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins will find more to like here than those who are looking for another The Hunger Games. It is a satisfying survival story, as Willow comes of age and learns to thrive on her own in the wild. However, the setting of her village is not established strongly enough to be a dystopian novel; the society Willow seeks to restart does not play a large enough role in the majority of the story. Nothing in the text itself suggests that the People of the Singing Seals are in the future, rather than a more primitive culture of the past. Willow is a strongly drawn and endearing character, and her friends Crab and Thistle are shown clearly as well. Readers will "root them on" as they make their own way in the world. Hazel's actions do not show her to be a weakling, happy to stay behind, as Willow claims she is, and this discrepancy is never reconciled. More time in the village at the beginning of the story would have answered some nagging questions and helped the book fit the intended genre more clearly. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
Kirkus Reviews
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 worldbuildingis 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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608980987
  • Publisher: namelos
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 0.32 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 5.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Levin lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts as a sheep farmer, border collie trainer, and children's novelist whose many books include The Keeping Room, The Ice Bear, The Trouble With Gramary, winner of the Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation Award, Fire in the Wind, Island Bound, Shadow-Catcher, Away to Me, Moss and its sequels, and Shoddy Cove. She has taught at Pine Manor Open College, Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Radcliffe Seminars. She is a former fellow of the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. Betty was a founding member of the Board of Children’s Literature New England, and in 2000 she received the Hope S. Dean Memorial Award from the Foundation for Children's Books.
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