by Lois Lowry
Published in 1993
Why I chose it for this week:
I have a theory... There is a glut of dystopian fiction in the YA market right now, and I think it's because of THIS book. Many of the authors who are writing dystopian fiction right now were teens themselves when this book came out. More than once I've seen an author list The Giver under favorite books or books that inspire them. The Giver truly is one of the "founding fathers" of dystopian YA, and if you haven't read it, you need to. Right now.
In a future utopian society, humans have managed to eliminate pain and strife. However, they've done this by converting to a "sameness" that has eliminated color, choice, and love. Jonas receives his job assignment, a unique position where he will be given memories from before sameness. As he sees what the world was like before, he begins to question the life he's always known.
What I Love:
This book has such depth and makes you think about, question, and appreciate the world we live in. The concept of giving and receiving memories is such a simple but awesome idea. I remember wishing as a kid that it were possible to give and receive memories with such vivid detail as was done in the book.
There are some serious topics alluded to in the book, such as abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. When I was younger, some of this went over my head. But going back and reading it at an older age, the heavy issues were clear. Appropriate for most middle schoolers. Discussion encouraged.
Two years ago, I got Lois Lowry to autograph my copy of The Giver. Will totally rank up there in most awesome moments of my life (despite the fact that it was rainy and cold and disgusting that day).