The Giver by Lois Lowry This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 24, 2010
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“Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community.” The Giver is a Newbery award-winning book originally published in 1993. The author is Lois Lowry, a multiple time Newbery winner, with the other award coming from her book Number the Stars which won the award in 1990. The genre of The Giver is a subtle science fiction and has a futuristic feel to it. It is a book that I feel would be largely enjoyed by most middle and high school students.
The main characters in the book are Jonas and The Giver (also know as The Receiver early on in the book). Jonas lives with his father, mother, and his younger sister Lily, who is a Seven. For most of the book, a newchild named Gabe is also living with the family because he has had trouble sleeping and developing correctly. All of these characters play a minor role in the book.
In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Jonas; a well behaved Eleven who is impatiently awaiting the arrival of his Twelve ceremony when he will finally be considered an adult in the Community. When a child becomes a Twelve, he or she is given an Assignment to contribute to the Community. There is one major problem that Jonas notices; he doesn’t know what profession he would fit. His best friend Asher seemed to fit a profession, as did his friend Fiona. Where did he fit in? Well, now that you know the basics, we can move on. At the Twelve ceremony, Jonas is petrified when the Chief Elder, a highly respected member of the Community, skips over Jonas when telling the kids their Assignment. What had he done wrong? After getting through all of the kids, the Elder comes back to tell Jonas that he had not been assigned, but selected to be the new Receiver, the most respected Elder of all. Jonas is warned that although he will receive great honor, along with it comes unimaginable pain. When his training with The Receiver, a very wise, mysterious, and aged man, begins, Jonas does not see the pain. He is given pleasurable memories of sled rides and of sunshine, which are totally new concepts to Jonas because the things don’t exist in Jonas’s world. However, he soon learns that long ago, the world was full of pain and loneliness and sadness. Along the way, he discovers some secrets that were not meant to be known about the Community.

Unfortunately, this is as far as I can or I will go because The Giver is truly a thinking book, where it will be most enjoyed by forming your own perceptions about what may happen next. You may find it entertaining to find out what happens and to see just how far off your guess actually was. Searching through the book and looking for clues could help you discover what will come next, and foreshadowing is included in the book. In this sense, it’s a wonderful piece of literature. All characters have highly developed and keen traits that clearly define one person from the next. As far as action goes, it has a very relaxed calm mood to it in most parts with few climactic events. Although it is calm, it isn’t boring, which I usually mix together. This was one of the very few calm books that I enjoyed. If there were one thing I could change, it would be the ending. I had such high expectations for the end of such a great book, and it failed to meet my standards by ending pretty abruptly with me wondering what happened.

All in all, The Giver is a fantastic book that has been enjoyed for many years and will continue to be loved for many years to come. As for an overall rating, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. If it doesn’t seem your style, branch out! Try something out of the ordinary for yourself! You will like what you will find!

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daffodilsNblueskies This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm
Great review! I really enjoyed this book, but I agree that the ending knocked it down from being a 5 star rating... in some ways though, the abrupt ending left the reader still thinking about the Community's way of life and why it was so disturbing.
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