Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review - The Giver by Lois Lowry (5/5 stars)

The GiverReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia
Size: 208 page
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 24, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0385732550
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Giver Trilogy
Source: Swapped through
Rating: 5/5 stars

I picked this book up to read because I had heard it is a wonderful dystopian novel.  It definitely was a great, if disturbing, read.  I am very pleased that I finally got around to reading it.

Jonas was born into a world were couples are perfectly matched and each are given one boy and one girl.  The children are given medication starting at twelve years old that stifles any emotional urges and then are placed in work positions most appropriate to their disposition.  Jonas is different though, no one can guess what work he will be placed in.  Then he finds out that he will be the society's new Receiver of Memory; the one person in society who doesn't have to follow any of the rules and is responsible for the memories of humanity.  The old man who give Jonas these memories is forced to revel dangerous truths about their society to Jonas, they are truths that are truly stunning.

This was a wonderful book.  It was easy to read and very well set up, the whole time you suspect that things aren't quite right but when the truth is revealed it is stunning.  Much of the book reminded me of Huxley's Brave New World.  Jonas is an excellent character and watching him transition from one of the ignorant masses to an enlightened individual is both painful and fascinating.

This is a short book, but it packs a lot of story and that story has a truly powerful punch to it.  I found my self stunned and almost in tears at parts; so while this was not necessarily an easy read, it was definitely a thought-evoking and memorable one.  I zipped through it quickly and found it very hard to put down.  It is hard to talk about more of the plot without giving things away; but if you find dystopians fascinating and are intrigued by humans adopting sameness for safety you will find this book wonderful.

My least favorite part of the book was the very end, which is incredibly ambiguous.  As a reader you know what probably happens, but you are hoping something else actually happened.  

Overall this was just an absolutely fascinating read.  It is creative and engaging and impossible to put down.  It does pull some things from Huxley's Brave New World.  If you like this book or are looking for other excellent young adult dystopian reads I recommend the following: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Matched by Ally Condie, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:


  1. This is one of the favorites for our family. For all three of my girls, it was THE book that made them total readers. I've re-read it quite a few times, with some years in between, and each time, it's still just as good.

  2. I loved it also but yes the end had me going did what I think happen happen or something else.

  3. I just read that there are two other books that come after this one. Has anyone read those? Are they any good?

    - Karissa

  4. Well done on the review! I absolutely loved this book!!

    Yes, I've read the 2 other books. #2 is Kira's pov, #3 Matt's. I was too wowed with #1 so it would have been hard to follow, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. --You can check out my review of them on my blog ... sometime in Sept. of last year.

  5. Jinky,

    Thanks for the comment. That's what it sounded like based on the few reviews I read. I'll have to think about whether or not I want to read them; I just have so many books to read!

    - Karissa