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Cover art for The Giver

The Giver

Written by Lois Lowry

Before The Hunger Games, Divergent, or Uglies, there was The Giver, where Lois Lowry introduced the dystopian futuristic novel to children and young adult audiences. In a peaceful future society, where jobs, spouses, and even children are assigned to families and pills are taken to suppress emotions and attraction, a young boy named Jonas is assigned the job of the Receiver of Memories, to work with the Giver and take memories of things that the world has lost: violence, sadness, love, beauty, and more. Feeling alienated from the rest of society, Jonas is horrified to learn that people have lost the concept of death, labeling it “release” and giving a lethal injection to anyone who doesn’t fit in. Jonas rescues Gabriel, a young infant slated for “release,” and together they flee the city to try to find a place to live with everything, both good and bad, that their society now lacks. The ending is highly ambiguous, but that only adds to the appeal. This book serves as an example of what people stand to lose by trying to eliminate all strife and human desire, but is written for a slightly younger audience and is a smaller, easier book than many of the more recent dystopian youth stories.

Recommended by Jenna

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