The Giver

by Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet #1
192 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Knight of Narnia

An excellent read with a few mature themes.


Jonas lives in a lifeless, colorless world that seems to be perfect. There is no pain, no suffering, and everything is controlled. Then, it is time for him and his friends to be assigned their jobs for the rest of their lives. Jonas is astonished to get one of the most respected positions in the community, and what he sees begins to change. He realizes that he has to do something right away to save one of the few people he loves and bring what matters most in life back to the community.


Jonas knows what is right from what is wrong. In order to do what he knows is right, he is forced to lie sometimes when he knows he cannot tell the truth. Near the end, he breaks some community rules because it is necessary to his plan.

Spiritual Content

Very little, if any.


Some of Jonas's memories have violence and one memory of war is fairly graphic. The elderly and children deemed "unsuitable" are removed from society - that is, killed - though this is not seen as a good thing.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A pill that suppresses the Stirrings (see next paragraph) is taken by almost all citizens of the community. No illegal drugs or anything close are mentioned.

Sexual Content

The elder citizens (the Old) are nude when they are bathed by Jonas and his friends. The term Stirrings is used by the community to mean the love and sexual feelings that are felt starting at puberty. Jonas feels these in the form of a dream where he wants to bathe his friend Fiona like the Old.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None that I recall.


This book was very enjoyable. The mentions of the Stirrings and other more mature themes do not last long, and the narrative is very strong. You always want to know what will happen next. This book really makes you think, too.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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