Lois Lowry's books never fail to make you think. She has a subtle way of creating stories that stay with you for a long, long time. The Giver is one of those and her recently released related book, Gathering Blue, is another.
Both are tales of a future world where our modern day society is barely even a distant memory. After a great collapse (perhaps a terrible war? Ms. Lowry never says, and it never really matters), civilization begins to rebuild. One of the most important things in both books is the concept of memory and holding on to the past.
Different communities find different ways to cope with life in the world of the future. Kira, the heroine of Gathering Blue, lives in a brutish, dog-eat-dog kind of village. The lives of her people are governed by strict rules (as were the lives of the characters in The Giver) and their technological level is very low. Only food, shelter and procreation figure with any importance in their lives.
Kira was born 'damaged' and would have been left to die if her mother had not refused to let her go. Once her mother dies, she finds herself alone with only the friendship of an eight-year-old boy to sustain her. But the council takes her in because they know of her talent.
Her fingers have a life of their own when she works with thread and cloth. Much like Ms. Lowry's ability to weave complex characters and storylines, Kira can create things that no other person can.
She soon meets two others who share a similar gift: Thomas, who carves incredibly intricate pieces and Jo, a mere toddler who can sing like an angel. They are each tasked with something that will support the Singer, who appears each year to sing the song of all that has passed before.
But Kira soon discovers that all is not as it seems and that truth is a slippery thing. In the end, she makes a decision that will potentially change the entire world.
Fans of The Giver should pay close attention to the last few pages of the book for a possible glimpse at what happend to Jonas. You will, of course, have to draw your own conclusion.