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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Giver* by Lois Lowry - young adult book review

Also by Lois Lowry:

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The Giver
by Lois Lowry
Young adult 192 pages Laurel Leaf September 2002 Paperback    

Imagine a world where everything is the same. There is no weather: no sunshine or rain or snow. There are no colors, there is no music and there are no true feelings. Words like “love” and “anger” mean nothing to this community where “happiness” and “pain” correlate to “enjoyment” and “discomfort.” All children grow up in a family unit with two parents and one sibling of the opposite sex. Everyone does what is required of them without question, for questioning an Elder is considered rude and bears the threat of being “Released into in the Elsewhere.”

For his entire life, Jonas has felt completely at ease in his community. Every day he goes to school, he does his required volunteer hours, he eats dinner with his family and does his homework. Day after day of sameness is all Jonas has ever known. However, the Ceremony of Twelve is quickly approaching; this is the year that Jonas will be given his assignment in the community. Jonas is worried that he has never had a real preference to any one job he has volunteered for. While he enjoys the work in the House of the Old, he has no desire to become a Caretaker. His science skills aren’t as great as others and he doesn’t feel like he could become an Engineer or Doctor. Although his father is a Nurturer, he can’t see himself working with the newchildren day after day.

During the Ceremony, Jonas squirms in anticipation of his assignment. To his left, Fiona has been called up to the stage and been given the assignment of Caretaker. Now it’s his turn… but the Elder skips his number. Shamed into believing that he was not worthy of an assignment, Jonas waits in anguish until the last number has been called and wonders what his fate will be. Fortunately Jonas doesn’t have to wait long; the Elder calls him up to the stage to announce that Jonas has not been assigned a job, but instead has been selected for the highest honor of all—he is to become the new Receiver of Memory. Completely bewildered, Jonas doesn’t know whether to be proud of his new position or run in terror at the prospect of holding the entire memories of his community and beyond.

As the Receiver, Jonas will be infused by the Giver with all of the memories of present, past and back and back and back. Unable to come to terms with these new feelings, colors and ideas of true love and pain, Jonas and the Giver try to devise a plan so that they are not the sole bearers of all the horrors and pleasures of the world.

Brilliant in its simplicity, Lois Lowry's world echoes the concerns of Brave New World while paving the way for similar titles like Uglies and Pretties by Scott Westerfeld and Feed by M.T. Anderson. This is a must read for teens and adults who love sci-fi or those who think they hate sci-fi but are willing to give it a go (don’t worry, you won’t be sorry!). Be sure to catch her companion titles, Gathering Blue and Messenger.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Meghan Fryett/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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