The Giver (The Giver #1) by Lois Lowry

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.

When Jonas turns twelve 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's time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.


I first read The Giver when I was in eighth grade and it quickly become one of my favorite books. It was my first introduction into Dystopian Fiction, a genre that I have grown to love over the years. I have since reread this book several times, as I have experienced one of those full circle moments...I am now the teacher sharing this wonderful novel with my students. 

Each time I read it, I find something new. I am struck again and again by the idea of a Utopian society. On paper it sounds great - no war, no crime, no poverty, no disease, every need met, everyone has a place and purpose, complete harmony. That is until you start to consider the cost of that perfection - the loss of freedom, free will, individuality, etc. It’s these conflict desires that make the story so intriguing. I loved experiencing the awakening of Jonas to the truth behind his community and I love watching my students experience it as well. I love the relationship between Jonas and the Giver and Jonas and Gabriel. 

The one thing I don’t love about this novel is the ending. I am always left with a desire for more. What happens to Jonas and Gabe? What happens to the people they left behind? What affects does Jonas’s decision have on the community? I know there are sequels to this novel, which I have not gotten around to reading yet (although I have decided that I will get to them this year!), but I don’t think any of them will answer my questions. Perhaps that is part of the brilliance of the novel. Perhaps Lois Lowry wrote the ending the way she did so that we, the reader, would be free to imagine our own.

2016 Reading Challenge: A YA bestseller

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