The Giver

Author: Lois Lowry
My Recommended Reading age: 12 and up
Lexile 780L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Grade Level Equivalent 5.9

Imagine trying to build a Utopia, a city with total peace and harmony.  What would it take, and what would you be willing to give up to acheive this paradise?  The community in which Jonah grows up is just such a place.  His childhood has been fairly carefree, painless, and perfectly mapped out for him.  At the age of 12, Jonah is ready for his life's work assignment, and it's at this same time he begins to experience startling feelings and emotions that he doesn't understand, or know what to do with.  As Jonah learns from the giver about all of the emotions he's spent his life without, Jonah comes to learn that life is nothing without both the bad and the good.

This was a wonderful, thought provoking book.  Lowry does an amazing job helping her reader see the problems of a supposed Utopia, without being preachy about why it's ok to have bad and good in the world.  

As a teen book, and one that many kids have to read in Jr. High school English, parents should be aware that Lowry includes a limited description of nighttime "stirrings" that Jonah experiences, but doesn't understand.  This bothered us as we felt she could have made her point without it.   There are also mentions of suicide, war, suffering, and some killing that the towns people see nothing wrong with.  Nothing overtly offensive by any means, but things to be aware of none-the-less.

Enjoy and Happy Reading!
~Becky and Liz

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