Jonas and his family live in a utopian world, where Sameness is the rule: there is no violence, no crime, no hunger, no poverty. As a twelve, Jonas is ready to be assigned an adult task. While his friend Asher, always a bit goofy, is assigned as Assistant Director of Recreation, and Fiona, a thougthful, warm girl, as Caretaker of the Old, Jonas is assigned as Receiver of Memories, a crucial, if lonely, assignment. He is taught by a man called the Giver and soon Jonas realizes that there was a very expensive price to pay for Sameness.
Lowry’s prose is sparse and elegant, deceptive in its simplicity. She tackles hefty issues, such as the need for individuality and choices, which weigh so heavily in the minds of young adults. She doesn’t condescend or talk down but confronts these issues head on, through a surprising twist in the story that startles and pains. The ending is clever and leads to further thought rather than a foregone conclusion or happy ending.
Lowry’s contribution to American Literature for Children earned her a John Newberry Medal. The Giver sustains this contribution. The Giver is a must for every searching young adult.