The Giver by Lois Lowry
AR Reading Level: 5.7
On the library stacks: YA and Children's Fiction
Awards: Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors; SLJ Best Book; Golden Duck Award; Young Reader's Choice Award/Nominee; ALA Notable/Best Books; Newbery Medal
Series: Book 1 of 3 (The Giver)
Recommended for: Grades 7+
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jonas lives in a futuristic dystopian society where "sameness" rules. Couples may apply for children from the government, but they are given no more than one boy and one girl. When the children turn 12, they are given a job in the community, chosen for them by The Elders. Jonas is given a special honor when he is selected to be the Receiver of Memories.
What neither Jonas nor any other of the community realizes is that they are living life completely without choice. It has been that way for so long that no one sees color, hears music, feels pain, or experiences true joy or love. But as the Receiver, Jonas experiences them through The Giver and it encourages him to change everything he knows to be true.
This book is definitely thought-provoking. It is interesting to imagine what life would be like without the ability to choose for ourselves. This book is often challenged (here's my shout out to Banned Books Week) for its treatment of suicide and euthanasia. I wouldn't give it to my child until at least 7th grade, and even then I will be ready to have a good sit-down discussion about the book with her.
I kind of wish the book were a little longer and had been geared definitively for the YA crowd instead of skirting with the Children's section. I felt the pacing was uneven, especially toward the end when I was really hoping for a lot more detail. But I think the book is wonderful for helping us to appreciate the great gift we have of forming our own opinions, thinking for ourselves, and experiencing a fullness of life--both the bad and the good.
Also reviewed by: Piling on the Books ~ Literarily Speaking ~ Book Thoughts ~ Teen Lit Review ~ Pizza's Book Discussion ~ my cozy book nook ~ Fuzzy Cricket ~ things mean a lot ~ Good Clean Reads ~ Bookfoolery and Babble ~ Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic ~ So Many Books, So Little Time ~ Your link here?
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