Post-Apocalyptic dystopian YA novel about a girl with a deformed hand
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I read this book around the time I was in middle school, so it would have been published before 2000.
The main plot points I remember are that some people in this society have mutations as a result of a cataclysmic event. The main character's parents (?) think she is slow because she doesn't write well with one hand. But with her other hand, she can draw beautifully detailed drawings-- an ability that she for some reason has to keep secret.
When she is inevitably cast out, she has to fend for herself in a forest or wasteland (not sure I remember exactly the type of environment). I think at some point she meets a similarly mutated animal that aids in her survival, or it might be the other way around and she rescues it. Possibly she is found by benevolent people/beings, but I don't remember the ending.
This sounds like The hermit thrush sings by Susan Butler. Here's a description:
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 by a meteor that changed life forever. Now, Leora lives safely locked inside the walls of Village Three. Only the guards and croptenders are allowed out, where the world is said to be undeveloped and dangerous. Leora's heard stories of the ferocious birmbas -- half bear, half gorilla -- that resulted from the meteor. Mutants cannot be trusted.
But Leora herself is considered a "defective" with her hidden hand and gift. When she risks her life to free a baby birmba, she finds the courage to escape beyond the tyrannical walls without knowing what she may find.
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