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Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (The Giver #1) Have you ever wished you lived in a different world? A world in which there was no war, no economic problems, no global warming? No rich, no poor, no one dying of hunger? A world where families were simple and complete with a dad, a mom and two children, a boy and a girl?

Welcome to Jonas’s community. It has no apparent problems or struggles and you never have to worry about what comes next because it is all planned out for you. Every year from age one to age twelve, there is a ceremony. The whole community gathers together to celebrate the yearly milestones that bring you ever closer to being an adult and a productive member of society. This year Jonas will be a part of the Ceremony of the Twelves, and will be receiving his assignment. The Committee of Elders has observed every child during recreation and volunteer hours and has decided on the assignment, or job, each child is best suited for. Jonas is worried because while he has volunteered in many places, he hasn’t displayed an aptitude for anything in particular.

During the Ceremony, each child is called up to the stage to receive their assignment from the Chief Elder. Jonas realizes that something is wrong when his number is skipped and not called. The reason for Jonas’ singling out isn’t revealed until the end of the Ceremony. You see, Jonas has been selected for a special job, the most honored in the community. He will be the Receiver of Memory.

Jonas is being trained to replace the current occupant of the job, the man who is now The Giver. Being the Receiver is a lonely, often painful duty, one that may convince you that your wish for perfection isn’t worth what must be left behind in order to achieve it.

Why I picked up the book: I’ve read it before and really enjoyed it. At some point, I want to read the other three in the series. Both my book clubs were interested in reading it, many of them for the first time, since the movie is being released this month. I know some students read it in 4th/5th grade and I’m looking forward to my older teens talking about their reflections and bringing some experiences to their thoughts.

Why I finished it: I wanted to know why the previous “Receiver-of-Memory” didn’t work out and if Jonas would.

I’d give it to: Readers who like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner so they can get a glimpse of some classic YA, and probably one of the first real dystopian fiction for juveniles. A great read for those who want to see the movie or those who already have and want to make comparisons. 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

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