The Giver by Lois LowryThe Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver

byLois Lowry

Paperback | July 1, 2014

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The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader's Medal, and the ...
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Title:The GiverFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:July 1, 2014Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0544336267

ISBN - 13:9780544336261

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hmm It's a classic good book, but I didn't really like the flow of the story
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this book! I had to read this book in my elementary school and I instantly fell in love with it. The thought of a society where all people are the same but only one person in each generation is special totally intrigued me. When I found out that there were 3 other books I knew that I had to have them. Not regreting my decition they are really good.
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring This book failed to keep me interested. I only finished it because it was a required read for school but if I did not need to read it for school I would have stopped reading.
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from complicated but worth the read Reading this with our kids; they find the dystopian world fascinating while I find a little disturbing (!!). The main character is relatable and the story, while far-fetched is quite interesting. Good for school-aged kids.
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Giver The book was okay with it's introduction to an utopian society but I didn't find it very interesting, nor did I care for the characters.
Date published: 2018-05-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from All right Although the book does get better halfway through, IMO it had a weak beginning that made me lose interest quickly until the second half.
Date published: 2018-05-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Conflicted I read this book in school and can easily say that it is well written, with decent underlying concepts, with that being said I hate the ending! It makes me soo annoyed when I think about the copout / lack of ending.
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my Favourites This novel is one of my favourites and really makes you question everything around you. A beautiful novel about free will, love and hope and truly does leave a lasting impression!
Date published: 2018-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Loved this book, it really makes you stop and analyze while you read. Very interesting premise!
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read I read this in high school and then recently bought it because I remembered how much I enjoyed it. This is a quick read but the story is amazing. It really makes you think about your surroundings and the world you live in. I would highly recommend this to a friend.
Date published: 2018-04-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from NO This is just confusing with meaning that can only come from hyper analysis and way too much critical thinking to even enjoy the book
Date published: 2018-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lasting impression This book truly leaves a lasting impression. It brings clarity and grattitude. I can't wait to share this with my children.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Important Message A great, quick read that carries an important message, especially in this day and age.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never Seen Anything Like This Super unique plot and characters. A book that will stick with me forever.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique and a Favourite I read this book for the first time in elementary school and was blown away by the dystopian storyline. I have reread it a couple times in adulthood and love it just the same! I will be keeping this for my own kids. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Very simple prose but works very well within the context of the story.
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sticks with you The show don't tell in this novel is inspiring. Books becomes part of your bones. Great for 12 + reading.
Date published: 2018-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Alright Loved the book until the end, absolutely hated the ending
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! I have read this book about 5 times and everytime I do it is like being immersed into the world.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ominous and Beautiful This book was truly striking, it introduced concepts which twist your perception, the only problem for me is that it is aimed at young readers, I wish it focused more on the adult reader. Its just too simple.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an awesome story line Even though this book was required in highschool it was so captivating. I would have chosen to read it anyways ! I love the idea behind it. It is hard to put down ! An easier read but completely worth it. The characters are so intriguing and the entire world is captivating. Recommend !
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book. If you liked Phillips Pullman's dark material I believe you will like this book. The twist and turns to the plot give just enough information to make you wonder what is going to happen. Asking questions like where is it going to go, how is it going to turn out? It is an easy read since it is for a younger audience, but as a 30 year old I loved it.
Date published: 2018-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love this book Have read this book several times. Beats all the current series out there (Maze Runner, Hunger Games). Would recommend this to all kids to read!
Date published: 2018-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creative and Intruiging! Read it for class (ESL Teaching) and it's honestly quite good. The level of writing isn't too complicated so ESL learners could use it in school. The plot is interesting and the world created is very creative. Characters aren't just two-dimensional like most YA books. The ending is quite open-ended, which can lead to discussions in class, but the author did write a few sequels which I'm hoping to read too.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING BOOK This is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. It has not only a great plot, but amazing characters that you can't help falling in love with. I first read the book myself when I was in about grade 7 and ever since then it has been one of my absolute favourites. I would recommend this to teenagers and adults. It is a story both heart-wrenching and captivating at the same time. If you love this book I would suggest continuing reading the series which ties everything together. I love the ending yet at the same time hate it just because it feels as if I'm left at a cliffhanger even though I know everything is alright in the end. I love how the ending is so simple, yet significant.
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! I first read this book when I was in grade 6, I have since read The Giver two more times. This book continues to draw in the reader, wonderful read!
Date published: 2018-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Plot Very intriguing; a true page-turner! The story has a good plot and interesting characters.
Date published: 2018-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this!!! I bought this in the afternoon and had it finished by the evening! I could not put it down!!
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing The Giver is a classic and its therer for a reason. i can read this book over and over again and it would never get old.
Date published: 2018-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tradition The Giver is such a classic, and it's there for a reason. I love it
Date published: 2018-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a gem for children and adults alike The Giver is one of those books that many people read and fell in love with when they were children. It has been added to many elementary school curriculums since its publication in 1993, and it is generally considered the quintessential young adult dystopian novel. It wasn’t the first of its kind, of course, but I do believe it was probably the first dystopian novel aimed at a younger audience that really made an impact on the general public. However, I managed to live my entire childhood without ever picking this up. Even though it was the favourite book of many of my peers and many of my teachers, I somehow never got around to reading it myself nor was I recommended it - probably because it’s an assumption that if you were a kid that read a lot, you’d already read this book. Reading this for the first time as an adult was an interesting experience. I had no idea what the plot was like, and didn’t have any specific expectations other than expecting it to be great and it really was! This is a very short book that I devoured in just a few hours, but I loved every moment of it. This is definitely a book that is aimed at a younger audience, as evident in the simple language and uncomplicated plot and event sequencing. However, this is a story that was perfectly written for not only the target audience, but the subject matter. The narrator is a twelve year-old boy in a society where language is painstakingly regulated and controlled, people take pills to suppress feelings, there is no colour, and whatever brief moments of feeling anything other than a baseline neutrality is discussed at the dinner table every night and usually encompass just a few minutes of the 24 hour day. There is no other way to narrate this story than by using the language and storytelling Lois Lowry presented. You really feel like an outsider in this boy’s head, completely immersed in the story and the world that is so different from our own. It starts off okay, not that strange, but as the story goes the world the boy lives in becomes increasingly bizarre and twisted as the narrator begins to think less like the person he was groomed to be by his society and more like us, the readers, and thus perceiving his society more realistically. This book is short, easy to read, and superficially simple but it has such a deep message and makes you think more than half of the books I’ve ever read. It really makes you question what a perfect society is, what it means to be human, and if the two could ever co-exist. The society presented in the story functions perfectly, with everyone having a specific role and there being no pain or hunger ever experienced by any of the characters who get their meals delivered to their doorstep every day. But what would a human society look like if we didn’t have thoughts beyond the objectivity in front of us? What if we didn’t experience love or desire? What if human relationships were simply a means for cooperation and the raising of future inhabitants, so meaningless that when the relationship stops being conductive to society we simply end them? What if there were no hobbies, events, books, television, etc., and people just went to school/work, came home, went to sleep, and repeated the process over and over without complaint because it’s all they’ve ever known? It seems so bizarre and unthinkable, but this is the story this book paints. It makes you wonder if the benefits of having no pain, no hunger, and equality could ever outweigh the humanity of feelings, love, and thoughts. I think it would depend on who you ask. I’m a person who has never experienced starvation or a war-torn society. It’s easy for me to think that a society without feelings, even unhappiness and pain, would not be human. But I live on the easy, privileged side of society and I cannot say that I have ever fully experienced both spectrums of life, the good and the bad. While I live and write this review, there are people who live in unthinkable conditions, in poverty and in hunger. A society in which people never have to suffer or worry about being able to eat would not be viewed so negatively as it is in this novel by the people who have experienced it. The author’s message is that even so, the ability to feel and love outweighs the potential for pain in this life. While I cannot say whether or not that is true, it is unquestionable that regardless of where you are born in this world, the relationships we have around us and love or its potential is the best and happiest part of living. That, I cannot question. The message in this book is not so deep nor so widespread, and I fully agree with it. A society where one person only holds the history of the world, in order to avoid any of the other members having any sort of pain or discomfort is terrible. I fully believe in knowledge being accessible to everybody, and that I would rather feel both pain and love than neither. The best parts of my life are the moments I share with those I love, and this is a society that is stripped of that. Unthinkable, unimaginable, and pretty horrifying. This society is a disaster, but our society is not a perfect one, either. Even though we have the ability to experience what the people in this dystopian world lack so heavily, from love to grandparents to sunshine to nature, we are missing so much. This book presents us as inhabiting a superior world, stating that sunshine, love, independence, and family is worth having at the expense of a large proportion of society having starvation, war, and injustice. It is a controversial, complicated message that is worth reading and pondering. It also reminded me a lot of the short, philosophical fiction work The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you enjoyed pondering that, you will for sure enjoy this novel. I loved the experience of the narrator beginning to realize everything his society is missing that he never knew. The scene where he experiences an elephant for the first time was one of my favourite parts of this book. This was entertaining and emotional, a short roller-coaster ride with unexpected twists and turns all throughout. This book just pretty much made me realize that there is a lot about the world that I thought I knew and don’t, and the ability to make me think so deeply is one I don’t often encounter in books. This is a great, well-written, classic novel that will remain relevant for decades. I think this is awesome for children, even though they will not fully understand the scope of its message nor wonder so greatly at its message. For adults, this is a beautiful thought-provoking book. I cannot recommend this enough to everybody.
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartfelt speculative fiction Beautiful and heart-wrenching. Perfect for middle grade readers, but suitable for adults, too.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I read this in 8th grade and I remember it being both disturbing and intriguing. It has a lot of similarities to John Wyndham's, The Chrysalids, in the sense that the story takes place sometime in the future, a society rebuilt itself after some kind of destruction of the old society, and the protagonist disturbs the peace or whatever and tries to unveil the truth.
Date published: 2018-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it! read this book cover to cover in one sitting ` loved it :) powerful idea of society
Date published: 2018-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from VERY GOOD BOOK read a long time ago but enjoyed it as well as the movie
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read REad this a few times now and get something from it every time.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such a classic. I read this way back when, in elementary school and loved it. I read it again recently and loved it just as much! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Masterpiece I read this in grade 6 for our book log, and I did not expect it to be as unique and thought provoking as it was. Truly a masterpiece that forces the reader to rethink life as they know it. A definite read that deserves the praise that it received.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from an interesting and enthralling novel an interesting and enthralling novel. While I have yet to see the movie, I really enjoyed the book and hope that it does the novel justice.
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this book! I read it in high school and since then I read it regularly!
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome I loved this book. It was a short and sweet read, and I thought the story was very relevant.
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Read Read this book in class and loved the plot.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Read this in elementary school and it would be great for a gift!
Date published: 2017-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true classic A fabulous story which can be experienced and enjoyed over and over again.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Read so many years ago as a child/young teen, and then read again a few years ago and still ove this book to this day.
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Socially relevant Another booked I was forced to read in junior high; so, of course, I was assuming I would be bored but I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting story. Moreover, the story was and remains especially socially relevant today
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Read for any age. I read this book in grade three and again in grade eight. It not only brings to light that individuality (within ones self), and in the material world, is key in a world of mass production this and mass production that. If you like this read you may also enjoy "1984" by George Orwell, or vice versa.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written The details in the book are amazing! I loved this book so much both as a child and now as an adult! truly iconic.
Date published: 2017-08-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It wasn't great, it wasn't horrendous, it was just "Meh" Personally, I found it quite bland.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Utopian society This is a very interesting novel that explores the idea of an utopian society. The novel is very descriptive and the author does a great job on providing vivid details.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book vs Movie I read this in school and loved the ideas that the author gave. However, the movie was not the most ideal so if you are reading this after watching the movie, you may want to wait a while and than read because the book is always better.
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Read This novel is an excellent example of a utopian society. The novel is currently listed on the grade 8 reading list. I read the novel as a teacher, but I enjoyed it as a reader. The novel follows the journey of a young boy, but also explores many big ideas.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Iconic I read this book in elementary school for my reading group and it was an instant hit. Definite recommend to anyone and everyone looking to find someone relatable and feeling uninspired. In this book Jonas, the main character, uses the gifts he has been given to follow what he believes in for a better world. This book shows readers that even when the odds are not in your favour that does not mean you just give up. Great read overall. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book is absolutely amazing! I love it so much!!!! It really makes you think about what our world could have been like.
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read Read this in when I was in school for english class and re-read it again as an adult. Great novel, gives you a whole new perspective of life.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Story for All Ages I enjoyed this book. It really makes you think about life and appreciate the things you take for granted. Even as an adult, I found this book to be quite thought-provoking.
Date published: 2017-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Children, Adults; everyone should read this Read it for the first time as a child, and it forever changed the way I see myself and the world. I have gone back and read it multiple times throughout my life, and every time it informs me in new ways.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EYE OPENER Jonas lives in a world with no colour or emotion until he is given the job the receiver. this is an Amazing book that will open your eyes
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classics I love this book, very interesting and make your brain think how would it be...
Date published: 2017-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Giver This book displays a creepy world that could be. Promotes thought.
Date published: 2017-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Makes you think. Even in your adulthood.
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful story This is a gem of a book. I read it when I was twelve years old and have gone back to it several times. It's powerful, beautiful and timeless.
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't like it I know I am in the minority here, but I did not enjoy this book at all. After all the hype I was expecting so much more, or perhaps something altogether different. I watched the movie afterwards to see if I was missing something that other people saw but it just confirmed my opinion.
Date published: 2017-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Awesome Read!! I absolutely loved this book! It is very powerful and moving and once I started I didn't want to put it down
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Can't be beat Great to read for the first time or reread for the nth time. Short but powerful.
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my FAVORITES i picked this book up, not expecting much, but it turned out to be one of my favorites! simple and quick read for lovers of the dystopian genre. highly recommended for everyone
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Regret not finishing the book as a kid My family always tried to push this book on me in middle school but I thought reading was uncool at the time. After coming back to it years later, I'm so glad that I did. I wish that I actually gave it a try because this book actually could have pushed me to start reading back then. Great story. I watched the movie directly after and it was interesting to see how differently I imagined the book in my eyes. To someone finishing the book, I recommend you watch the movie as well.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A timeless story I somewhat hated this book in Grade 4 we had to read it. After reading it again for an American Culture course in university I appreciate the the nonconformist and dystopia nature of the story a lot more. It will never be my favorite book, but the story itself is very important in the way it helps us think critically about the darker parts of the idea of a perfect world, efficiency and fitting in.
Date published: 2017-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Story I have read this book multiple times in my life, starting when I was 13. Must read!
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Really interesting story on a dystopian society and the great details on the imagery depicted.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from greeat Had to read for school and loved it
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book Cool and interesting, and has a great message to it
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Message I had to read this book for a school assignment, I am very happy that our teacher chose this book for us to read! The book itself has an amazing story and a great message, the book is full of imagery which really brought my imagination to life! The book has a very crucial affect when it talks about how different the story setting is related to our current day world.
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from important book for children to read I read this in Grade 5 and I was imbued with new critical thinking about the systems which govern our lives. It's important that children start thinking about government and extremism critically from a youg age.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is amazing This book is aimed at the teenage audience. This book is an eye opener to the young soul who reads it. There is so much to contemplate in this book. Lois Lowry has her own style of dystopian fiction that is a reflection of the fiction literature in the 90's. I recommend any teacher of young teens to have this as a class reading.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The God-awful! Before you disagree with me on account that this is a classic, or your favourite, or the first book you read, hear me out. This book was intriguing. It was mysterious. I could even say it was shocking at times. But take a step back and look at it from the distance and you see a badly put together sci-fi world with dry archetypical characters and a message that just doesn't make sense. Lois Lowry took the concept of equality and twisted it until it looked like anti-communist propaganda. The plot twists in this book were so ridiculous that you could tell they were only included for the shock value. None of the main premise makes sense, and as for The Giver himself - what is his purpose, if not to educate those who have corrupted themselves? This book did everything wrong, and it is such a shame because it could have been so much better than it was. It was raw, undercooked. None of it was thought through. This book had the same problem as The Hunger Games, in that it described a world with humans that lacked humanity - unrealistic and cheap. Characters shouldn't ever be this way - there should always be many who don't conform to the archetype, which was why this society was so difficult to believe. What a shame.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommend!! Wow this book was so different from anything I've ever read. It was a school read, but I recently re-read it and still loved it if not more!
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommend It was a good read in grade school.. however I understood the story much better after watching the movie that was made based on this. I enjoyed the concept and story. It's definitely a classic
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! amazing truly captures what society could turn into one day and how much one person can have an impact I definitely recommend
Date published: 2017-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic and intriguing This was a great read. The notion and concept of this story is so interesting. I enjoyed it thoroughly and it provokes a lot of in depth thoughts. Definitely recommend.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Aloud! I did this whole series as a read aloud with my grade 6 class and they loved it, however this first book is truly a stand-alone. Excellent tie-ins to social studies.
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of the first books that made me fall in love with reading as a child A wonderful classic that I read in Gr 6. The movie was a disappointment.
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE IT. I read this book back in grade 5 as an assignment. It was interesting.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 10/10 I wanted to read this book for so long and when I finally did I was mad I hadn't read it before! It's a complex read that is easy to follow and even easier to love.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! Very amazing book! Loved every second of it.
Date published: 2017-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good book but an even greater movie This is an interesting work, the author tries and largely succeeds in writing a dystopian novel for children. There characters are interesting the fictional world thought provoking and engrossing and the developments riveting yet not too crazy. My only complaint was its ambiguous ending. Indeed, I very much liked the movie better because the ending was much more conclusive and we actually got to see things unfold in real time. This book is recommended nontheless
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Engrossing & Complex I know it's a children's book but I'm glad I left it until now to read it so I could really appreciate it. I had no idea it would be like this. So simple, yet engrossing and complex. And really took a dark turn near the end. I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes you think I had a teacher friend tell me about this book that she has in her curriculum. I have to say it's been a while since I finished it but the ending is still fresh in my mind and makes me wonder! Now that I know there's some additional books to go with it I may have to pick them all up!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from On of my favourites! #plumreview I first read this book in grade school I fell in love with the story. I thought it was so powerful. Reading it again as an adult, I still love it. Don't waste your time with the movie. It doesn't give this book justice!
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Speculative Read an amazing novel by Lois Lowry. Very easy to follow and hard to put down! If you love speculative fiction/dystopian/utopian novels, you must read this book.
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good I read this book in elementary school. It was my first taste of dystopian books. I thought it was a very interesting and powerful read.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Good dystopian novel. The ending forever bothers me and there are aspects I still queestion, but when you read dystopian novels its often what you get.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a story! An excellent addition to any library.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I read this book in grade school and it is the book that got me into Dystopian Literature, one of the greats!
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Good Read I read this in elementary school and again at University and both times it captured my imagination, I could barely put it down. There is not much action per say, there are no dashing knights on white stallions, but this book proves that there doesn't need to be to make it exciting. Its just a novel about how people tried to make a world where everyone can live in peace, without fear of death or hunger or sickness, but in doing so, it removes something vital to the human experience. You'll need to read to find out what it is!
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting premise A simple story that gives you food for thought.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome I remember reading this book for the first time; it was so unusual and interesting as a child. The concept is still so rich. It made me think deeper then, and it still does today. I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book I bought this book for English a year ago. It is a short book, but very interesting. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book I did enjoy this book. It was interesting to see how the whole colors thing worked, and how they built their society. Short book to read. I am still debating on how the ending is supposed to be interpreted. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVE THIS! I read this book over 10 years ago and I still consider it one of my favourite books. It is the best dystopian novel out there! (sorry 1984)
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best Dystopian Novel This is an exceptional and quick read. Lowry does a fantastic job of portraying a utopian society and revealing its dysfunctions and inadequacies. A must read for everyone, particularly if you are a fan of dystopian fiction. A fantastic read for adults! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very thought provoking As someone who’s always questioned why we should do things just because they were always done this way, I was really drawn into this story. It does a good job of exploring the notion of “ignorance is bliss” while also showing how numbed we are to things that we are taught. I’m not sure the characters were fully developed, especially not the Giver, though he was a one of the most important characters. And, Fiona, who felt more like a reason to see red hair, than anything. Nonetheless, the book was incredibly thought provoking and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing something different totally different concept
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful One of the best dystopian novels I've ever read. Can't recommend this one highly enough!
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from alright! It is great for a book study but the ending is kind of disappointing #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Speechless :) I was so not expecting this ending. I can't find a word to explain how I loved it. I don't usually reread books, but I couldn't help myself.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Could have been so much more The ending made an incredible idea feel like a waste
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book deals with what an ideal world would look like, our lack of self. It's an amazing read, would strongly recommend!
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read Read this in junior high and it was pretty good
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from very original an eyeopener, recommended to all
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite books Excellent book that deals with the idea of a perfect world.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from ok I was kind of dissapointed
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YOU HAVE TO READ THIS This is probably the best book I've read for a while. The narration, plot, plot twists, characters etc... everything put together just becomes a masterpiece. You have to read this. Please don't get thrown off by the book cover. If ever you do read this, drop all your expectations and just enjoy the ride. Don't ask questions if you are confused by the plot, it will all make sense as you progress in the story. A MUST (and easy) READ!
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A MUST! Obviously, the book is better than the movie. I'm sure the reasons you will read this book are either because it's a mandatory reading, or because someone recommends it to you! Well, all reasons are good, because this book is amazing.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from books to read to your children if you want them to think more critically of the systems they're used to.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique I just loved it! Couldn't put it down
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book with a unique premise Loved this book! It is timeless and offers up some very compelling and interesting topics!
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome I love the storyline so much. One of my favourite dystopias.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is my most re-read book I read this probably every year. I read it in grade 5 and have treasured it ever since. Profound and simple - this book is great for elementary students, high school students and adults in a book club. A bite of perfection.
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing great story line, amazing love how diffrent it is.
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good It's good, but I prefer the books that follow. I'm happy this book got me to read the others.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i loved this book I read it not to long ago and was hooked I couldn't put it down, I really enjoyed it very very good book
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing read! This book was deep. Talked about some deep stuff. It was interesting because it was deep though.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Slow But Really good!! I had to write a essay on this book, and i really enjoyed.Although It was abut slow at frst, it really picked up and I truly would reccommend this for people that enjoy books that have meanign behind it, or even a book that build up to a bigger thing. Read it!!
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YA classic! I did not know what to expect when I bought this book. It seemed like an introduction to the dystopian world! I absolutely loved it.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My Intro into Dystopians I read this book years ago and it was my first glimpse into the dystopian literature. I find that many adults don't appreciate this novel like most of the middle schoolers I knew who read it. Maybe it's because Jonas and I were the same age when I read the book? I genuinely enjoyed this novel and would absolutely re-read it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) I think I'm missing something. Everyone loves this book and I liked it too, but it wasn't amazing or anything. The Giver felt like a very sparse story to me. First, there isn't much characterisation, so I didn't form an emotional connection with any of the characters.We don’t live in a dystonia world, but we do have a growing number of our population who believe that all that exists is NOW, that history is irrelevant, and that there is no future. It simplifies existence when a person can convince themselves of this. No need to learn about the past, no need to think about tomorrow, they just react to what they have to do today.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Giver It was a fine book. Good, not great. It feels very cold and distant, even as Jonas starts seeing colour and living memories. It reads well but it does not envelop or capture the mind. It feels almost mechanic, in a way. It predates most of the dystopian books in vogue today (Hunger Games, Divergent...) and its newness at the time might have sparked the vivid interest and awed amazement that has mythologized the book, but today it just feels like a worn out thing, a bare bones foundation to the more elaborate dystopias that have come out in recent years. In similar situations, some books retain their sense of grandeur and remain genuinely amazing books (think Lord of the Rings) but The Giver doesn't quite rise to the task. Nevertheless I will read the rest of the series, since I've bought the compilation that holds the whole quartet together. (P.S.: I don't say this often, but I liked the movie better, even though the ending was just as confusing as the book's.) Recommended, but only because it is a classic and it seems to be the kind of book everyone has a different opinion on.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Looove A classic book like no other
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) I think I'm missing something. Everyone loves this book and I liked it too, but it wasn't amazing or anything. The Giver felt like a very sparse story to me. First, there isn't much characterisation, so I didn't form an emotional connection with any of the characters.We don’t live in a dystonia world, but we do have a growing number of our population who believe that all that exists is NOW, that history is irrelevant, and that there is no future. It simplifies existence when a person can convince themselves of this. No need to learn about the past, no need to think about tomorrow, they just react to what they have to do today.
Date published: 2017-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from my first dystopian novel I read this as a teenager and it was my first dystopian novel. I liked the messages it conveyed and the development of the story.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique Out of all the books I have read in my life, this book has really stood out. It really shows us how such a 'perfect' world can contain so many flaws. It was an interesting read and I definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dystopian Classic The Giver was YA dystopian fiction before anyone knew what YA or dystopian was. To be fair, it might not be a true dystopian, in the sense that it is more a "seemingly utopian" world than a "ruined world", but when secrets start to come out you'll see how cruel this utopia can be. If you like worldbuilding, you'll love the tight immersive world of The Giver. but be aware The Giver answers very few "how did we get here?" questions, so if that's frustrating for you, steer clear.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from memorable I read this a few years ago and I was really into it. It's memorable in a way that I still think about it from time to time. The concept was pretty cool because there wasn't a lot of dystopian novels back then.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dystopias Read this for my Children's Dystopias class - it's like one of the early books that set off all the stories about experiments and people in communities in the last few years. But the story was interesting - especially the ambiguous ending - i can't decide if Jonas actually found that house or if he was hallucinating by that point with Gabe.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book Great book to start off reading dystopian themed book. Was my very first dystopian themed book and never forgot it.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such an amazing story This is a great intro into dystopian fiction for tweens #PlumReview
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Middle grade/YA An excellent book for middle grade - young adult readers.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I didnt like this book I thought this book was really boring and felt like forever to get through
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from short and sweet love this book. its a quick read but it bought me to tears. highly recommend it
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could read this over and over Read this in elementary school and it is still one of my favourite books. #plumrewards
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the Best I first read this book in the fourth grade and I keep going back to it every few years because it still resonates with me today! An incredible and deep story...not your typical dystopian future novel.
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flawless!!! One of the best books I have ever read, definitely in my top 25!!!
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I've read this book over and over since I was 10 One of the most influential books of our time!
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved the plot this plot is so unique and full of "fantasy". made the "other" world so realistic.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this! The first dystopian novel I ever read, and it has stuck with me ever since. I was so excited to learn that this book is actually part of a series, and I hope to get to read the rest of them really soon.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book so much! This book was so amazing I could not put it down.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Wonderful book for Pre-teens and teens
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Short and sweet, loved the concept!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable It was a very gripping story and reading it was such an experience. I read it when I was in elementary and every time I reread it, I find there's something new to think about each time.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from best book ever this book teaches a beautiful lesson
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i enjoyed this i LOVED this book, it teaches a lesson
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love!!!!! I read this book when I was in grade 7 and I remember loving it, so I recently bought it and read it again! It was just as good as I remembered :)
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great stater I remember reading this in grade six, and as a teacher, find myself going back to this book over and over again to talk about dystopia. It is a great starter book for students.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i really loved this i loved the giver but i just cant find the motivation to read the rest of the series
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book! #plumreview Another fantastic book by Lois Lowry. The friendship and bond between Annemarie and her best friend is very well written, as well as the *** SPOILER ALERT *** connection with Ellen and Annemarie's sister's death. The danger it took to smuggle Ellen and her family to Sweden is also very well-written.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic look into a possible future Amazing read for all ages. Great introduction to dystopian genre
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great i loved this book, was great
Date published: 2016-11-16

Read from the Book

1It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane. At first, he had been only fascinated. He had never seen aircraft so close, for it was against the rules for Pilots to fly over the community. Occasionally, when supplies were delivered by cargo planes to the landing field across the river, the children rode their bicycles to the riverbank and watched, intrigued, the unloading and then the takeoff directed to the west, always away from the community. But the aircraft a year ago had been different. It was not a squat, fat-bellied cargo plane but a needle-nosed single-pilot jet. Jonas, looking around anxiously, had seen others—adults as well as children—stop what they were doing and wait, confused, for an explanation of the frightening event. Then all of the citizens had been ordered to go into the nearest building and stay there. IMMEDIATELY, the rasping voice through the speakers had said. LEAVE YOUR BICYCLES WHERE THEY ARE. Instantly, obediently, Jonas had dropped his bike on its side on the path behind his family’s dwelling. He had run indoors and stayed there, alone. His parents were both at work, and his little sister, Lily, was at the Childcare Center where she spent her after-school hours. Looking through the front window, he had seen no people: none of the busy afternoon crew of Street Cleaners, Landscape Workers, and Food Delivery people who usually populated the community at that time of day. He saw only the abandoned bikes here and there on their sides; an upturned wheel on one was still revolving slowly. He had been frightened then. The sense of his own community silent, waiting, had made his stomach churn. He had trembled. But it had been nothing. Within minutes the speakers had crackled again, and the voice, reassuring now and less urgent, had explained that a Pilot-in-Training had misread his navigational instructions and made a wrong turn. Desperately the Pilot had been trying to make his way back before his error was noticed. NEEDLESS TO SAY, HE WILL BE RELEASED, the voice had said, followed by silence. There was an ironic tone to that final message, as if the Speaker found it amusing; and Jonas had smiled a little, though he knew what a grim statement it had been. For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure. Even the children were scolded if they used the term lightly at play, jeering at a teammate who missed a catch or stumbled in a race. Jonas had done it once, had shouted at his best friend, “That’s it, Asher! You’re released!” when Asher’s clumsy error had lost a match for his team. He had been taken aside for a brief and serious talk by the coach, had hung his head with guilt and embarrassment, and apologized to Asher after the game. Now, thinking about the feeling of fear as he pedaled home along the river path, he remembered that moment of palpable, stomach-sinking terror when the aircraft had streaked above. It was not what he was feeling now with December approaching. He searched for the right word to describe his own feeling. Jonas was careful about language. Not like his friend, Asher, who talked too fast and mixed things up, scrambling words and phrases until they were barely recognizable and often very funny. Jonas grinned, remembering the morning that Asher had dashed into the classroom, late as usual, arriving breathlessly in the middle of the chanting of the morning anthem. When the class took their seats at the conclusion of the patriotic hymn, Asher remained standing to make his public apology as was required. “I apologize for inconveniencing my learning community.” Asher ran through the standard apology phrase rapidly, still catching his breath. The Instructor and class waited patiently for his explanation. The students had all been grinning, because they had listened to Asher’s explanations so many times before. “I left home at the correct time but when I was riding along near the hatchery, the crew was separating some salmon. I guess I just got distraught, watching them. “I apologize to my classmates,” Asher concluded. He smoothed his rumpled tunic and sat down. “We accept your apology, Asher.” The class recited the standard response in unison. Many of the students were biting their lips to keep from laughing. “I accept your apology, Asher,” the Instructor said. He was smiling. “And I thank you, because once again you have provided an opportunity for a lesson in language. ‘Distraught’ is too strong an adjective to describe salmon-viewing.” He turned and wrote “distraught” on the instructional board. Beside it he wrote “distracted.” Jonas, nearing his home now, smiled at the recollection. Thinking, still, as he wheeled his bike into its narrow port beside the door, he realized that frightened was the wrong word to describe his feelings, now that December was almost here. It was too strong an adjective. He had waited a long time for this special December. Now that it was almost upon him, he wasn’t frightened, but he was . . . eager, he decided. He was eager for it to come. And he was excited, certainly. All of the Elevens were excited about the event that would be coming so soon. But there was a little shudder of nervousness when he thought about it, about what might happen. Apprehensive, Jonas decided. That’s what I am. “Who wants to be the first tonight, for feelings?” Jonas’s father asked, at the conclusion of their evening meal. It was one of the rituals, the evening telling of feelings. Sometimes Jonas and his sister, Lily, argued over turns, over who would get to go first. Their parents, of course, were part of the ritual; they, too, told their feelings each evening. But like all parents—all adults—they didn’t fight and wheedle for their turn. Nor did Jonas, tonight. His feelings were too complicated this evening. He wanted to share them, but he wasn’t eager to begin the process of sifting through his own complicated emotions, even with the help that he knew his parents could give. “You go, Lily,” he said, seeing his sister, who was much younger—only a Seven—wiggling with impatience in her chair. “I felt very angry this afternoon,” Lily announced. “My Childcare group was at the play area, and we had a visiting group of Sevens, and they didn’t obey the rules at all. One of them—a male; I don’t know his name—kept going right to the front of the line for the slide, even though the rest of us were all waiting. I felt so angry at him. I made my hand into a fist, like this.” She held up a clenched fist and the rest of the family smiled at her small defiant gesture. “Why do you think the visitors didn’t obey the rules?” Mother asked. Lily considered, and shook her head. “I don’t know. They acted like . . . like . . .” “Animals?” Jonas suggested. He laughed. “That’s right,” Lily said, laughing too. “Like animals.” Neither child knew what the word meant, exactly, but it was often used to describe someone uneducated or clumsy, someone who didn’t fit in. “Where were the visitors from?” Father asked. Lily frowned, trying to remember. “Our leader told us, when he made the welcome speech, but I can’t remember. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. It was from another community. They had to leave very early, and they had their midday meal on the bus.” Mother nodded. “Do you think it’s possible that their rules may be different? And so they simply didn’t know what your play area rules were?” Lily shrugged, and nodded. “I suppose.” “You’ve visited other communities, haven’t you?” Jonas asked. “My group has, often.” Lily nodded again. “When we were Sixes, we went and shared a whole school day with a group of Sixes in their community.” “How did you feel when you were there?” Lily frowned. “I felt strange. Because their methods were different. They were learning usages that my group hadn’t learned yet, so we felt stupid.” Father was listening with interest. “I’m thinking, Lily,” he said, “about the boy who didn’t obey the rules today. Do you think it’s possible that he felt strange and stupid, being in a new place with rules that he didn’t know about?” Lily pondered that. “Yes,” she said, finally. “I feel a little sorry for him,” Jonas said, “even though I don’t even know him. I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.” “How do you feel now, Lily?” Father asked. “Still angry?” “I guess not,” Lily decided. “I guess I feel a little sorry for him. And sorry I made a fist.” She grinned. Jonas smiled back at his sister. Lily’s feelings were always straightforward, fairly simple, usually easy to resolve. He guessed that his own had been, too, when he was a Seven. He listened politely, though not very attentively, while his father took his turn, describing a feeling of worry that he’d had that day at work: a concern about one of the newchildren who wasn’t doing well. Jonas’s father’s title was Nurturer. He and the other Nurturers were responsible for all the physical and emotional needs of every newchild during its earliest life. It was a very important job, Jonas knew, but it wasn’t one that interested him much. “What gender is it?” Lily asked. “Male,” Father said. “He’s a sweet little male with a lovely disposition. But he isn’t growing as fast as he should, and he doesn’t sleep soundly. We have him in the extra care section for supplementary nurturing, but the committee’s beginning to talk about releasing him.” “Oh, no,” Mother murmured sympathetically. “I know how sad that must make you feel.” Jonas and Lily both nodded sympathetically as well. Release of newchildren was always sad, because they hadn’t had a chance to enjoy life within the community yet. And they hadn’t done anything wrong. There were only two occasions of release which were not punishment. Release of the elderly, which was a time of celebration for a life well and fully lived; and release of a newchild, which always brought a sense of what-could-we-have-done. This was especially troubling for the Nurturers, like Father, who felt they had failed somehow. But it happened very rarely. “Well,” Father said, “I’m going to keep trying. I may ask the committee for permission to bring him here at night, if you don’t mind. You know what the night-crew Nurturers are like. I think this little guy needs something extra.” “Of course,” Mother said, and Jonas and Lily nodded. They had heard Father complain about the night crew before. It was a lesser job, night-crew nurturing, assigned to those who lacked the interest or skills or insight for the more vital jobs of the daytime hours. Most of the people on the night crew had not even been given spouses because they lacked, somehow, the essential capacity to connect to others, which was required for the creation of a family unit. “Maybe we could even keep him,” Lily suggested sweetly, trying to look innocent. The look was fake, Jonas knew; they all knew. “Lily,” Mother reminded her, smiling, “you know the rules.” Two children—one male, one female—to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules. Lily giggled. “Well,” she said, “I thought maybe just this once.” Next, Mother, who held a prominent position at the Department of Justice, talked about her feelings. Today a repeat offender had been brought before her, someone who had broken the rules before. Someone who she hoped had been adequately and fairly punished, and who had been restored to his place: to his job, his home, his family unit. To see him brought before her a second time caused her overwhelming feelings of frustration and anger. And even guilt, that she hadn’t made a difference in his life. “I feel frightened, too, for him,” she confessed. “You know that there’s no third chance. The rules say that if there’s a third transgression, he simply has to be released.” Jonas shivered. He knew it happened. There was even a boy in his group of Elevens whose father had been released years before. No one ever mentioned it; the disgrace was unspeakable. It was hard to imagine. Lily stood up and went to her mother. She stroked her mother’s arm. From his place at the table, Father reached over and took her hand. Jonas reached for the other. One by one, they comforted her. Soon she smiled, thanked them, and murmured that she felt soothed. The ritual continued. “Jonas?” Father asked. “You’re last, tonight.” Jonas sighed. This evening he almost would have preferred to keep his feelings hidden. But it was, of course, against the rules. “I’m feeling apprehensive,” he confessed, glad that the appropriate descriptive word had finally come to him. “Why is that, son?” His father looked concerned. “I know there’s really nothing to worry about,” Jonas explained, “and that every adult has been through it. I know you have, Father, and you too, Mother. But it’s the Ceremony that I’m apprehensive about. It’s almost December.” Lily looked up, her eyes wide. “The Ceremony of Twelve,” she whispered in an awed voice. Even the smallest children—Lily’s age and younger—knew that it lay in the future for each of them. “I’m glad you told us of your feelings,” Father said. “Lily,” Mother said, beckoning to the little girl, “go on now and get into your nightclothes. Father and I are going to stay here and talk to Jonas for a while.” Lily sighed, but obediently she got down from her chair. “Privately?” she asked. Mother nodded. “Yes,” she said, “this talk will be a private one with Jonas.” 2Jonas watched as his father poured a fresh cup of coffee. He waited. “You know,” his father finally said, “every December was exciting to me when I was young. And it has been for you and Lily, too, I’m sure. Each December brings such changes.” Jonas nodded. He could remember the Decembers back to when he had become, well, probably a Four. The earlier ones were lost to him. But he observed them each year, and he remembered Lily’s earliest Decembers. He remembered when his family received Lily, the day she was named, the day that she had become a One. The Ceremony for the Ones was always noisy and fun. Each December, all the newchildren born in the previous year turned One. One at a time—there were always fifty in each year’s group, if none had been released—they had been brought to the stage by the Nurturers who had cared for them since birth. Some were already walking, wobbly on their unsteady legs; others were no more than a few days old, wrapped in blankets, held by their Nurturers. “I enjoy the Naming,” Jonas said. His mother agreed, smiling. “The year we got Lily, we knew, of course, that we’d receive our female, because we’d made our application and been approved. But I’d been wondering and wondering what her name would be.” “I could have sneaked a look at the list prior to the ceremony,” Father confided. “The committee always makes the list in advance, and it’s right there in the office at the Nurturing Center. “As a matter of fact,” he went on, “I feel a little guilty about this. But I did go in this afternoon and looked to see if this year’s Naming list had been made yet. It was right there in the office, and I looked up number Thirty-six—that’s the little guy I’ve been concerned about—because it occurred to me that it might enhance his nurturing if I could call him by a name. Just privately, of course, when no one else is around.” “Did you find it?” Jonas asked. He was fascinated. It didn’t seem a terribly important rule, but the fact that his father had broken a rule at all awed him. He glanced at his mother, the one responsible for adherence to the rules, and was relieved that she was smiling. His father nodded. “His name—if he makes it to the Naming without being released, of course—is to be Gabriel. So I whisper that to him when I feed him every four hours, and during exercise and playtime. If no one can hear me. “I call him Gabe, actually,” he said, and grinned. “Gabe.” Jonas tried it out. A good name, he decided. Though Jonas had only become a Five the year that they acquired Lily and learned her name, he remembered the excitement, the conversations at home, wondering about her: how she would look, who she would be, how she would fit into their established family unit. He remembered climbing the steps to the stage with his parents, his father by his side that year instead of with the Nurturers, since it was the year that he would be given a newchild of his own. He remembered his mother taking the newchild, his sister, into her arms, while the document was read to the assembled family units. “Newchild Twenty-three,” the Namer had read. “Lily.” He remembered his father’s look of delight, and that his father had whispered, “She’s one of my favorites. I was hoping for her to be the one.” The crowd had clapped, and Jonas had grinned. He liked his sister’s name. Lily, barely awake, had waved her small fist. Then they had stepped down to make room for the next family unit. “When I was an Eleven,” his father said now, “as you are, Jonas, I was very impatient, waiting for the Ceremony of Twelve. It’s a long two days. I remember that I enjoyed the Ones, as I always do, but that I didn’t pay much attention to the other ceremonies, except for my sister’s. She became a Nine that year, and got her bicycle. I’d been teaching her to ride mine, even though technically I wasn’t supposed to.” Jonas laughed. It was one of the few rules that was not taken very seriously and was almost always broken. The children all received their bicycles at Nine; they were not allowed to ride bicycles before then. But almost always, the older brothers and sisters had secretly taught the younger ones. Jonas had been thinking already about teaching Lily. There was talk about changing the rule and giving the bicycles at an earlier age. A committee was studying the idea. When something went to a committee for study, the people always joked about it. They said that the committee members would become Elders by the time the rule change was made. Rules were very hard to change. Sometimes, if it was a very important rule—unlike the one governing the age for bicycles—it would have to go, eventually, to The Receiver for a decision. The Receiver was the most important Elder. Jonas had never even seen him, that he knew of; someone in a position of such importance lived and worked alone. But the committee would never bother The Receiver with a question about bicycles; they would simply fret and argue about it themselves for years, until the citizens forgot that it had ever gone to them for study. His father continued. “So I watched and cheered when my sister, Katya, became a Nine and removed her hair ribbons and got her bicycle,” Father went on. “Then I didn’t pay much attention to the Tens and Elevens. And finally, at the end of the second day, which seemed to go on forever, it was my turn. It was the Ceremony of Twelve.” Jonas shivered. He pictured his father, who must have been a shy and quiet boy, for he was a shy and quiet man, seated with his group, waiting to be called to the stage. The Ceremony of Twelve was the last of the Ceremonies. The most important. “I remember how proud my parents looked—and my sister, too; even though she wanted to be out riding the bicycle publicly, she stopped fidgeting and was very still and attentive when my turn came. “But to be honest, Jonas,” his father said, “for me there was not the element of suspense that there is with your Ceremony. Because I was already fairly certain of what my Assignment was to be.” Jonas was surprised. There was no way, really, to know in advance. It was a secret selection, made by the leaders of the community, the Committee of Elders, who took the responsibility so seriously that there were never even any jokes made about Assignments. His mother seemed surprised, too. “How could you have known?” she asked. His father smiled his gentle smile. “Well, it was clear to me—and my parents later confessed that it had been obvious to them, too—what my aptitude was. I had always loved the newchildren more than anything. When my friends in my age group were holding bicycle races, or building toy vehicles or bridges with their construction sets, or—” “All the things I do with my friends,” Jonas pointed out, and his mother nodded in agreement. “I always participated, of course, because as children we must experience all of those things. And I studied hard in school, as you do, Jonas. But again and again, during free time, I found myself drawn to the newchildren. I spent almost all of my volunteer hours helping in the Nurturing Center. Of course the Elders knew that, from their observation.” Jonas nodded. During the past year he had been aware of the increasing level of observation. In school, at recreation time, and during volunteer hours, he had noticed the Elders watching him and the other Elevens. He had seen them taking notes. He knew, too, that the Elders were meeting for long hours with all of the instructors that he and the other Elevens had had during their years of school. “So I expected it, and I was pleased, but not at all surprised, when my Assignment was announced as Nurturer,” Father explained. “Did everyone applaud, even though they weren’t surprised?” Jonas asked. “Oh, of course. They were happy for me, that my Assignment was what I wanted most. I felt very fortunate.” His father smiled. “Were any of the Elevens disappointed, your year?” Jonas asked. Unlike his father, he had no idea what his Assignment would be. But he knew that some would disappoint him. Though he respected his father’s work, Nurturer would not be his wish. And he didn’t envy Laborers at all. His father thought. “No, I don’t think so. Of course the Elders are so careful in their observations and selections.” “I think it’s probably the most important job in our community,” his mother commented. “My friend Yoshiko was surprised by her selection as Doctor,” Father said, “but she was thrilled. And let’s see, there was Andrei—I remember that when we were boys he never wanted to do physical things. He spent all the recreation time he could with his construction set, and his volunteer hours were always on building sites. The Elders knew that, of course. Andrei was given the Assignment of Engineer and he was delighted.” “Andrei later designed the bridge that crosses the river to the west of town,” Jonas’s mother said. “It wasn’t there when we were children.” “There are very rarely disappointments, Jonas. I don’t think you need to worry about that,” his father reassured him. “And if there are, you know there’s an appeal process.” But they all laughed at that—an appeal went to a committee for study. “I worry a little about Asher’s Assignment,” Jonas confessed. “Asher’s such fun. But he doesn’t really have any serious interests. He makes a game out of everything.” His father chuckled. “You know,” he said, “I remember when Asher was a newchild at the Nurturing Center, before he was named. He never cried. He giggled and laughed at everything. All of us on the staff enjoyed nurturing Asher.” “The Elders know Asher,” his mother said. “They’ll find exactly the right Assignment for him. I don’t think you need to worry about him. But, Jonas, let me warn you about something that may not have occurred to you. I know I didn’t think about it until after my Ceremony of Twelve.” “What’s that?” “Well, it’s the last of the Ceremonies, as you know. After Twelve, age isn’t important. Most of us even lose track of how old we are as time passes, though the information is in the Hall of Open Records, and we could go and look it up if we wanted to. What’s important is the preparation for adult life, and the training you’ll receive in your Assignment.” “I know that,” Jonas said. “Everyone knows that.” “But it means,” his mother went on, “that you’ll move into a new group. And each of your friends will. You’ll no longer be spending your time with your group of Elevens. After the Ceremony of Twelve, you’ll be with your Assignment group, with those in training. No more volunteer hours. No more recreation hours. So your friends will no longer be as close.” Jonas shook his head. “Asher and I will always be friends,” he said firmly. “And there will still be school.” “That’s true,” his father agreed. “But what your mother said is true as well. There will be changes.” “Good changes, though,” his mother pointed out. “After my Ceremony of Twelve, I missed my childhood recreation. But when I entered my training for Law and Justice, I found myself with people who shared my interests. I made friends on a new level, friends of all ages.” “Did you still play at all, after Twelve?” Jonas asked. “Occasionally,” his mother replied. “But it didn’t seem as important to me.” “I did,” his father said, laughing. “I still do. Every day, at the Nurturing Center, I play bounce-on-the-knee, and peek-a-boo, and hug-the-teddy.” He reached over and stroked Jonas’s neatly trimmed hair. “Fun doesn’t end when you become Twelve.” Lily appeared, wearing her nightclothes, in the doorway. She gave an impatient sigh. “This is certainly a very long private conversation,” she said. “And there are certain people waiting for their comfort object.” “Lily,” her mother said fondly, “you’re very close to being an Eight, and when you’re an Eight, your comfort object will be taken away. It will be recycled to the younger children. You should be starting to go off to sleep without it.” But her father had already gone to the shelf and taken down the stuffed elephant which was kept there. Many of the comfort objects, like Lily’s, were soft, stuffed, imaginary creatures. Jonas’s had been called a bear. “Here you are, Lily-billy,” he said. “I’ll come help you remove your hair ribbons.” Jonas and his mother rolled their eyes, yet they watched affectionately as Lily and her father headed to her sleeping room with the stuffed elephant that had been given to her as her comfort object when she was born. His mother moved to her big desk and opened her briefcase; her work never seemed to end, even when she was at home in the evening. Jonas went to his own desk and began to sort through his school papers for the evening’s assignment. But his mind was still on December and the coming Ceremony. Though he had been reassured by the talk with his parents, he hadn’t the slightest idea what Assignment the Elders would be selecting for his future, or how he might feel about it when the day came.

Editorial Reviews

A powerful and provocative novel'- The New York Times 'Wrought with admirable skill - the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel.'- Kirkus, starred review'Lowry is once again in top form raising many questions while answering few, and unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers.'- Publishers Weekly, starred review'The simplicity and directness of Lowry's writing force readers to grapple with their own thoughts.'- Booklist, starred review'The theme of balancing the values of freedom and security is beautifully presented.'- The Horn Book Magazine, starred review