Following a disaster reminiscent of 9/11, 15-year-old Green is the sole-surviving member of her family. Numbed, she buries her old self under a carapace of self-inflicted tattoos, protected by thorns sewn into her clothes.
From this grim opening, a fairytale of love and loss, growth and redemption gradually emerges, rich in imagery, symbol and magic. With a sense for divining truth, Green makes her way among the looters and cheats, and the ‘forgetters’, drowning their sorrows in dance or drugs. Befriending others in need – an elderly neighbour, a school-friend lost to drink and begging, animals hurt in the fire, and most of all Diamond, badly burned but retaining his faith in the world – Green replants the garden which gave her her name and as Spring returns faces the future, her own person once again.
The spare, unsentimental prose, the densely packed imagery and the reflective nature of the story pack a punch powerful enough to reach many young people unsure of their values in a hostile world. The book is beautifully produced, the words complemented by appropriately green illustrations and an attractive cover.