Jonas lives in a perfect, utopian society. But when he turns twelve, an adult, with special privileges, he begins to question how much perfection is worth sacrificing for. If hunger, disease and even unhappiness were eradicated would you risk bringing them back for certain liberties? Would you risk your life?
“He glanced quickly at the wall speaker, terrified that the Committee might be listening as they could at any time. But, as always during their sessions together, the switch had been turned to OFF” (105).
This unique, young adult novel is in many ways reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984. But instead of being merely a pawn in a larger scheme, Jonas is in a position to risk everything to make a change. The relationship between Jonas and his tutor is endearing and brings a beautiful side of humanity to the forefront. My age recommendation is eleven; however, be warned that there is a mild reference to sexuality in adolescents as well as one short disturbing scene in which Jonas witnesses the euthanizing of an unwanted baby. So, this is somewhat serious for youngsters. Overall, I enjoyed the utopian/dystopian plot seen through a young protagonist's eyes. I can see why this won the Newberry Medal in ’94. The only other kids/YA book The Giver reminds me of is The City of Ember which I enjoyed but I found The Giver to surpass Ember in prose and gravity.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993 Recommended Age: 11 and up
Source: IC Public Library Pages: 180
Rating: 4 stars