The Giver

By Lois Lowry,

Book cover of The Giver

Book description

THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture starring Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Now available for the first time in the UK, THE GIVER QUARTET is the complete four-novel collection.

THE GIVER: It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No…


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Why read it?

16 authors picked The Giver as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Giver is close to my heart, as it played a huge role in my development as an author and was one of the first book recommendations my mother gave me. This novel shows you what it could take for humanity to reach perfection, and makes you question whether perfection is something really worth reaching for. It also introduced me to the wonderful dystopian genre, and showed me that literature is much more than entertainment: it’s a whole world of important messages that the world needs to hear.

This might be an obvious one but stick with me here. YA dystopias are old news but the idea of a teenager evolving—and growing more dangerous to adults—by gaining knowledge of the world still holds up. In fact, in our post-truth age of misinformation, it might be more relevant than ever. If you’re sick of this type of story, remember that Lowry did it first and did it better. It also does a thorough job of building a compelling relationship between the two main characters, one that continuously drives the story forward. 

I wish this was mandatory reading when I…

Most books about corrupt societies have inherently rebellious protagonists, a dubious environment, and a great romance that begins in the first chapter. The Giver does not conform to this rule and that’s one of the reasons I love it. Jonas, an 11-year-old who lives in a future world without war, famine, or strife, is selected for a unique assignment: Receiver of Memories. As he is exposed to how things used to be before their society was created, Jonas experiences colors, emotions, and values he and his fellow citizens have never been exposed to. And the reader gets to experience it…

From Marie-Hélène's list on YA SFF about utopian societies.

This is an interesting one...there are images portrayed in The Giver that remain with me to this day. I don’t know if it was just a “right place right time sort of thing, but the author’s depiction of black and white vision – suddenly impacted by flashes of color – were so vividly written, that it inspired a major creative work of mine. I haven’t seen the film, though if I were to guess, the book outweighs it by far.

How often have we wished as humans to be free of pain, to be free of anger, or despair? But that is really not living, as the young protagonist of this novel comes to learn. A frequent favorite of those who like to ban books, The Giver deals with uncomfortable subjects connected to age, frailty, and death. The way the story unravels its layers to reveal a society that on its surface looks serene but is actually dystopian is brilliant.

The Giver is not just a book. It is a collection; one of thoughts and feelings that should be shared. This story has led me on a journey of a lifetime. It helped me realize that there is no such thing as perfection, for it encapsulates both the light and dark side of humans. Join Jonas on his expedition to find himself and the goodness within what seems like an endless pit of sorrow. The journey may be long, yes, but it will be one to remember.

This story is on the younger end of my referral list, and the protagonist is a young boy, but I really love it because it made me think. Jonas may be young, but he questions the reasoning and logic behind so much of what he is expected to accept at face value. This story challenges readers on every page to put the pieces together as Jonas does, and it holds lots of surprises! I loved the high moral standards Jonas had.

I read this young adult book as an adult and saw in it the dawning realization of what being a grownup is all about: the pain, the suffering, the war, and hunger, but also the good that comes with it. In a world (our future? Or another planet’s?) where complex emotions have been eliminated and all roles are assigned, 12-year-old Jonas is destined to become the receiver of memories. A dystopian utopia, Lowry very specifically does not name anything after our current world so these human-like characters could indeed be aliens – and their actions a commentary on our culture.…

As a historian, and someone who spends quite a deal of time dealing with the traumas and horrors of history, I really connect with The Giver and the burden of the past. How do you build a future free of prejudice and carry the past forward? Because the past is so easily weaponized into history and used, with good intent or ill, with unforeseen consequences I completely understand why a society searching for utopia would lock up the past like nuclear waste. I come back to The Giver time and again because I see myself vacillating between wanting its sanitized…

The Giver does not have a strong female heroine, but is a powerful dystopian tale written by a female author. Almost a utopia to begin with, the seemingly perfect world of the book is slowly revealed to be a sham. Those who live in it have no negative experiences, but the payoff for this is harsh: they also don’t experience positive emotions such as happiness and love. The book has been banned in several places because of the challenging themes it tackles, but Lowry has argued against this. Such censorship, she claims, only supports the point of her book. A…

From Clare's list on dystopian books for girls.

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