Guest Reviewer
The Giver
Lois Lowry
Laurel Leaf
“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”Thus opens Lois Lowry’s haunting novel The Giver, in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man—the man called only the Giver--he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling, it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.
I first read this book in my grade 6 English class at the choosing of one of my favorite English teachers. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think she was quite influential in developing my appreciation and need for books. The Giver was not my introduction to Lois Lowry, however. I had read Number the Stars the year before, and loved it as well. Since, I have read Messenger and Gathering Blue multiple times and am beyond excited to read her fourth installment, Son. The Giver has remained my favorite of Lowry’s novels to date. 
I ripped through the book, finishing it in about a day during a very busy Christmas season. It had been a while since I read fiction geared towards as young an audience as The Giver is, but I enjoyed the story and the story telling all the same. Lowry is excellent at dropping readers into the midst of a world they know nothing about and revealing key details just in time to allow you to understand what’s happening, but keep you guessing about what could possibly come next. 
I remember the book seeming much longer the first time I read it, perhaps because many of the ideas and concepts of dystopian fiction were entirely new to me at the time. My eyes were certainly opened to many new concepts of government, choice, rights, and responsibility the first time I read The Giver. My most recent read found me particularly focused on the idea of truth: what qualifies as truth, when it should be told, when it should be with held, and the power and responsibility that comes with the truth. 
One of my favorite things about rereading books is the experience of going back and finding a new detail that hadn’t stood out to me before. The Giver was a comfortable and familiar book that was still able to challenge my opinions. Jonas’s story is easy to read and his experiences allow one to see aspects of our lives that are taken for granted, through a fresh pair of eyes. 
It is always a pleasure to read Lois Lowry’s work and I recommend this book for anyone as young as grade 5, and any and every age older. 

Reviewed by Diana at Project:Read 
http://project-read.tumblr.com/

Guest Reviewer

The Giver

Lois Lowry

Laurel Leaf

“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

Thus opens Lois Lowry’s haunting novel The Giver, in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve year old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man—the man called only the Giver--he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling, it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs.

I first read this book in my grade 6 English class at the choosing of one of my favorite English teachers. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I think she was quite influential in developing my appreciation and need for books. The Giver was not my introduction to Lois Lowry, however. I had read Number the Stars the year before, and loved it as well. Since, I have read Messenger and Gathering Blue multiple times and am beyond excited to read her fourth installment, SonThe Giver has remained my favorite of Lowry’s novels to date. 

I ripped through the book, finishing it in about a day during a very busy Christmas season. It had been a while since I read fiction geared towards as young an audience as The Giver is, but I enjoyed the story and the story telling all the same. Lowry is excellent at dropping readers into the midst of a world they know nothing about and revealing key details just in time to allow you to understand what’s happening, but keep you guessing about what could possibly come next. 

I remember the book seeming much longer the first time I read it, perhaps because many of the ideas and concepts of dystopian fiction were entirely new to me at the time. My eyes were certainly opened to many new concepts of government, choice, rights, and responsibility the first time I read The Giver. My most recent read found me particularly focused on the idea of truth: what qualifies as truth, when it should be told, when it should be with held, and the power and responsibility that comes with the truth. 

One of my favorite things about rereading books is the experience of going back and finding a new detail that hadn’t stood out to me before. The Giver was a comfortable and familiar book that was still able to challenge my opinions. Jonas’s story is easy to read and his experiences allow one to see aspects of our lives that are taken for granted, through a fresh pair of eyes. 

It is always a pleasure to read Lois Lowry’s work and I recommend this book for anyone as young as grade 5, and any and every age older. 

Reviewed by Diana at Project:Read 

http://project-read.tumblr.com/

Teen Book Review
Son
Lois Lowry
Pub 10-2012, Houghton Mifflin, $17.99
Anyone who’s familiar with children’s literature has no doubt heard of Lois Lowry. She’s won two Newbery Medals, one for Number the Stars and another for The Giver, and has written a multitude of other children’s books. Chances are, you’ve read a Lois Lowry novel, and if you have, then you probably noticed how brilliantly it was written. Son is no different. The final book in the Giver series, it ties everything from The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger together in a way that only a superb author like Lowry can.
The book starts out in the same community where The Giver takes place, and is told from the point of view of Claire, a girl who was selected to be a Birthmother. Claire is in labor when the book starts, and we quickly figure out that she’s having trouble delivering. Forced to deliver via C-section, Claire is put to sleep, and when she wakes up, she finds out that the baby has survived, but she is unable to give birth again. She is reassigned to work in the Fish Hatchery. Claire is given a limited amount of information about the child she delivered, only being told that she had a son and that he was the thirty-sixth child delivered that year. She later uses this information to inconspicuously visit him in the Nurturing Center.
Not long into the book, it is apparent that Claire’s son is, in fact, Gabe, the child that plays a large role in The Giver. Claire begins to love Gabe, and longs for the times she can visit the Nurturing Center to see her son. Then one day, Gabe is gone. Those who are familiar with The Giver recognize this as the time Jonas takes Gabe and they flee the community. Devastated by this loss, Claire vows to find her son, and does whatever she has to in order to see him again.
Ms. Lowry always writes her characters with a level of depth that is much too rare in children’s novels. When Claire begins to feel the loss connected with losing Gabe, I felt empathy. I can’t go into too much detail here without spoiling anything, but there were multiple times, while reading, when I felt the exact same thing the characters felt. When a book can make you feel that way, it’s a special thing.
Being a fan of The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, I was thrilled to see so many of the characters from those books appear in Son. It was also interesting to learn more about what the Birthmothers do in the community where Jonas, Claire, and Gabe are from. For the most part, loose ends are tied up very nicely.
That being said, the only complaint I have about Son is that there were a few unresolved issues. Some relationships that Claire developed on her journey to find Gabe, she had to cut off, and I would’ve liked some closure on them. I know, I know–a complaint that small is petty. Still, it would’ve been nice to know what happened.
Truthfully, Son is an outstanding book that is a great conclusion to the Giver quartet. The characters are beautifully crafted, the story brings everything full-circle, and it is just an overall great way to end the series. Fans of the Giver books will most certainly not be disappointed.
-Rachel P., 16

Teen Book Review

Son

Lois Lowry

Pub 10-2012, Houghton Mifflin, $17.99

Anyone who’s familiar with children’s literature has no doubt heard of Lois Lowry. She’s won two Newbery Medals, one for Number the Stars and another for The Giver, and has written a multitude of other children’s books. Chances are, you’ve read a Lois Lowry novel, and if you have, then you probably noticed how brilliantly it was written. Son is no different. The final book in the Giver series, it ties everything from The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger together in a way that only a superb author like Lowry can.

The book starts out in the same community where The Giver takes place, and is told from the point of view of Claire, a girl who was selected to be a Birthmother. Claire is in labor when the book starts, and we quickly figure out that she’s having trouble delivering. Forced to deliver via C-section, Claire is put to sleep, and when she wakes up, she finds out that the baby has survived, but she is unable to give birth again. She is reassigned to work in the Fish Hatchery. Claire is given a limited amount of information about the child she delivered, only being told that she had a son and that he was the thirty-sixth child delivered that year. She later uses this information to inconspicuously visit him in the Nurturing Center.

Not long into the book, it is apparent that Claire’s son is, in fact, Gabe, the child that plays a large role in The Giver. Claire begins to love Gabe, and longs for the times she can visit the Nurturing Center to see her son. Then one day, Gabe is gone. Those who are familiar with The Giver recognize this as the time Jonas takes Gabe and they flee the community. Devastated by this loss, Claire vows to find her son, and does whatever she has to in order to see him again.

Ms. Lowry always writes her characters with a level of depth that is much too rare in children’s novels. When Claire begins to feel the loss connected with losing Gabe, I felt empathy. I can’t go into too much detail here without spoiling anything, but there were multiple times, while reading, when I felt the exact same thing the characters felt. When a book can make you feel that way, it’s a special thing.

Being a fan of The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, I was thrilled to see so many of the characters from those books appear in Son. It was also interesting to learn more about what the Birthmothers do in the community where Jonas, Claire, and Gabe are from. For the most part, loose ends are tied up very nicely.

That being said, the only complaint I have about Son is that there were a few unresolved issues. Some relationships that Claire developed on her journey to find Gabe, she had to cut off, and I would’ve liked some closure on them. I know, I know–a complaint that small is petty. Still, it would’ve been nice to know what happened.

Truthfully, Son is an outstanding book that is a great conclusion to the Giver quartet. The characters are beautifully crafted, the story brings everything full-circle, and it is just an overall great way to end the series. Fans of the Giver books will most certainly not be disappointed.

-Rachel P., 16