The Giver

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Publication Date:2006-08-28
Author Name:Lois Lowry


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.
This movie tie-in edition features cover art from the movie and exclusive Q&A with members of the cast, including Taylor Swift, Brenton Thwaites and Cameron Monaghan.

From Publishers Weekly

Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, this thought-provoking novel centers on a 12-year-old boy's gradual disillusionment with an outwardly utopian futuristic society; in a starred review, PW said, "Lowry is once again in top form... 
unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers." Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-- In a complete departure from her other novels, Lowry has written an intriguing story set in a society that is uniformly run by a Committee of Elders. 
Twelve-year-old Jonas's confidence in his comfortable "normal" existence as a member of this well-ordered community is shaken when he is assigned his life's work as the Receiver.
The Giver, who passes on to Jonas the burden of being the holder for the community of all memory "back and back and back," teaches him the cost of living in an environment that is "without color, pain, or past." The tension leading up to the Ceremony, in which children are promoted not to another grade but to another stage in their life, and the drama and responsibility of the sessions with The Giver are gripping.
The final flight for survival is as riveting as it is inevitable.
The author makes real abstract concepts, such as the meaning of a life in which there are virtually no choices to be made and no experiences with deep feelings.
This tightly plotted story and its believable characters will stay with readers for a long time.
--Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of PittsburghCopyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

In a radical departure from her realistic fiction and comic chronicles of Anastasia, Lowry creates a chilling, tightly controlled future society where all controversy, pain, and choice have been expunged, each childhood year has its privileges and responsibilities, and family members are selected for compatibility. 
As Jonas approaches the ``Ceremony of Twelve,'' he wonders what his adult ``Assignment'' will be.
Father, a ``Nurturer,'' cares for ``newchildren''; Mother works in the ``Department of Justice''; but Jonas's admitted talents suggest no particular calling.
In the event, he is named ``Receiver,'' to replace an Elder with a unique function: holding the community's memories--painful, troubling, or prone to lead (like love) to disorder; the Elder (``The Giver'') now begins to transfer these memories to Jonas.
The process is deeply disturbing; for the first time, Jonas learns about ordinary things like color, the sun, snow, and mountains, as well as love, war, and death: the ceremony known as ``release'' is revealed to be murder.
Horrified, Jonas plots escape to ``Elsewhere,'' a step he believes will return the memories to all the people, but his timing is upset by a decision to release a newchild he has come to love.
Ill-equipped, Jonas sets out with the baby on a desperate journey whose enigmatic conclusion resonates with allegory: Jonas may be a Christ figure, but the contrasts here with Christian symbols are also intriguing.
Wrought with admirable skill--the emptiness and menace underlying this Utopia emerge step by inexorable step: a richly provocative novel.
12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“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

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

here audio again

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Jonas's world is perfect. 
Everything is under control.
There is no war or fear of pain.
There are no choices.
Every person is assigned a role in the community.
When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver.
The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life.
Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth.
There is no turning back.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

"A powerful and provacative novel.”-- The New York TimesFrom the Paperback edition.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the 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 Mark Twain Award.
She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER.
Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award.
Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine.
To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at or follow her on Twitter @LiosLowryWriter.

From AudioFile

Praise and controversy precede this powerful story of a boy confronting the hidden truth about his futuristic society. 
Winner of the 1994 Newbery Award, Lowry's story sparks emotion and response from adults and children alike.
This is a compelling prospect for family listening.
Initially Rifkin's voice seems too regional to portray the characters of this utopian/dystopian world, but he convincingly conveys the anticipation of the coming-of-age ceremony of Jonas and his friends.
As the meaning of Jonas' selection as "Receiver of Memory" unfolds, Rifkin's characterizations become more powerful.
Although the story drives the presentation, Rifkin's juxtaposition of the young boy and the old Giver has tremendous effect.
His voice for the Giver becomes increasingly weary and strained while Jonas' gains strength.
Sharing this audiobook in a family or a classroom offers a valuable opportunity to respond to and discuss Lowry's moving novel.
(c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Teens,Mysteries & Thrillers,Mystery & Detective

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     The story is well written and proceeds in good fashion.. very interesting story line. Suddenly, nothing.
  •     The entire set is great! Absolutely no complaints! As of writing this I have read The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger from this set! I am currently half way through Son, and the paper is sturdy with good weight. The dust jackets and hard cover are of good quality too! I would defiantly recommend this set!
  •     I thought it was weird, unbelievable, not worth my time but I read it for my book club. It will be interesting to hear there options.
  •     AWESOME
  •     Amazing book
  •     Great book. Audiobook version is not as good, he makes Jonas sound very whiney.
  •     This was such a great book. It shows such inspiration in this book. It helped me get a better view of the world.
  •     Really good set of books. A must read for middle schoolers.
  •     Yesterday, I took a road trip with my two daughters to get pick up my 88 year-old grandmother, who will be staying with us through the holiday season. At 5 and 9 years-old, my usual audiobook choices were clearly not an option. So, I found myself listening to some books that definitely are not my usual type, yet again.With over 4 1/2 hours in the car each way, we were able to finish 2 audiobooks from start to finish. By pure coincidence, they both ended up being authored by Lois Lowry. I have never been more engaged in a children's book than I was during this road trip. I was completely lost in these stories, as were my children.The first book that we listened to was 'The Giver'. What a captivating, albeit bleak, fictional world Ms. Lowry has created! I was absolutely spellbound by her storytelling.Set in the future, Jonas lives in a community that has traded their humanity for the illusion of safety. They block anything that would trigger the emotional highs and lows that define a person's life as we now know it. They don't experience the heartache of loss, but they never give in to the joys of life either. They are shells, robotic in their day to day existence and devoid of emotion.Although this is a children's book, it had a feeling eerily similar to George Orwell's '1984'. Independent thinking was non-existent. People "confessed" their thoughts, dreams and rule violations. The presence of the omnipresent leaders in their homes, ruling their lives, was pervasive and all-powerful.Jonas is getting ready to experience the ceremony of 12. This particular ceremony is an important one in the community, a rite of passage into adulthood. It is at this ceremony that each child is assigned their job within the community. They will remain in their assigned role until they are no longer productive and they are "released".Unlike the other children, Jonas is unsure of his calling within the community. He doesn't feel a clear draw to one occupation or another. He is worried of what the future holds for him and he is beginning to notice some unusual things that others do not.Jonas is ultimately assigned a very prestigious role within the community. It is perhaps the most important role in the community, but comes with a tremendous burden. He cannot share his experiences with anyone other than the man that he will be replacing, the current "receiver". As his training progresses, Jonas comes to question everything that he has ever been taught.From beginning to end, this book held my rapt attention. It was beautifully written and thought provoking. 'The Giver' serves as a cautionary tale to the human race, warning of what can become when we censor our very emotions and blot out all of the differences that make us unique individuals.There was plenty of action and suspense along the way. It was also a much more emotional read than I had anticipated. I'll never forget the look on my 9 year-old's face when some of the true meanings of different phrases, like "released", truly sunk in. Don't even get me going on baby Gabe! Luckily, I think most of that went over the head of my 5 year-old.Overall, I thought that this was a spectacular book! It is one that I would not have normally read, but I'm so glad that I did. I can only hope that the lessons learned will resonate with my daughter and the other children that read it. An all-around great story! I'll probably download the next books in the series for our next road-trip to take "Nana" home after the holidays.
  •     The memories shared in the book serve to bring my own memories to the surface allowing me to live them again
  •     this was a confusing book, it's been 2 years since I read it and I'm still asking: wtf did the ending mean, what happened, not even my teacher could answer my question.
  •     Even though this book was marketed as a youth novel, adults will also find it to be an absolutely wonderful story. I read the book in one sitting; I just couldn't put it down.
  •     Dystopian teen fiction is pretty hot right now, with blockbusters like "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent." But the grandaddy of them all was "The Giver."And long before it became chic, Lois Lowry produced a hauntingly memorable quartet of stories set in a world where emotions are suppressed and people with gifts are imprisoned. The four books are loosely tied together -- the first and last most tightly -- and mingle fantasy and science fiction, with haunting prose and some very strong characters, as well as a message of compassion and acceptance.In "The Giver," Jonas lives in a rigid, joyless community where people use emotion-deprivation pills and adhere to insanely strict rules -- they have no conflict, poverty or discrimination... but they also have no love, no fun, and no creativity. When Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memories, he is suddenly flooded with feelings and memories of both the good and the bad from humanity's distant past.And as he comes to realize what his people have lost in their quest to be the same, Jonas begins yearning for the world he knows must exist outside the Community. But his quest becomes a more personal one when he discovers another price for the Community's existence: the "release" of babies that they don't deem good enough. The only one who can change the Community is Gabe."Gathering Blue" introduces us to Kira, a young girl born with a deformed leg in another community that leaves disabled or sickly people to die in the Field of Leaving. She is only kept alive because of her skill with embroidery and weaving, so she can make the Singer's robe. As she comes to realize the horrible flaws in her village's way of life, Kira must make an important decision -- stay and try to improve things, or leave for a place that would welcome her?"Messenger" was somewhat controversial upon its release, since some fans of "The Giver" felt that it "ruined" the bleak ending they had imagined for the first book. In takes place in Village, a community made up of outcasts, misfits and disabled people, ruled by the kindly Leader. But the Village is surrounded by Forest, a terrifying and deadly forest that kills those who venture into it -- and though the awkward teen boy Matty has been able to go there, it is now growing darker and twisted. As the Village begins to close itself off from the outside world, Matty finds that he may be the only one who can save them all."Son" takes us back in time to Claire, a young woman whose entire purpose is to produce babies for the Community -- and her child is the sickly baby boy known as Gabe, who vanishes with Jonas into the great unknown. Her desperation to find her son inspires her on a years-long quest to find him -- and a Faustian pact with a terrible figure who only wants suffering.Pretty much all young-adult dystopian fiction owes a debt to the Giver Quartet -- it has young people discovering the cruelty and callousness of their societies, and finding different ways to rebel. But Lowry doesn't shy away from asking the serious questions in her story, such as lack of respect for life (if it's inconvenient or doesn't fit in), kindness, compassion, and the good AND bad roots of what it means to truly live.Lowry's writing is simple but poetic, winding through with some quietly eloquent language ("Now, on this shattered morning, he felt nothing but knots and snarls under his fingertips"). And she fills the stories not with bombast and battle, but with tragedy and quiet triumph -- and while the story is in a future world fragmented into multiple civilizations, there's a hint of the fantastical as well. Think special powers, the mysterious Trademaster, and whatnot.And she creates a varied collection of characters. All of them are tied together into a story that culminates in "Son," and they all have the theme of seeking to improve the cruel, callous worlds they were in -- Jonas by leaving the Community to the memories they are trying to avoid, Kira by staying and working, and Matty through self-sacrifice. Claire is the odd duck out, a young woman adrift in the world, desperate to find her baby."The Giver Quartet" is a haunting memorable collection of novels, some of which inspired the current widespread dystopian novels. Rich, haunting and well-written.
  •     For the price I was expecting a soft cover set of books. However, they are all extremely nice and hardcover bound, good color, and shrink wrapped in plastic. I was glad I could get the entire set in hard cover for such a great price!

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