Messenger

( 312 )

Overview

Strange changes are taking place in Village. Once a utopian community that prided itself on its welcome to new strangers, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the few people able to travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village's closing and try to convince Seer's daughter to return with him before it's too late. But Forest has become hostile to Matty as well, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he cannot ...
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Overview

Strange changes are taking place in Village. Once a utopian community that prided itself on its welcome to new strangers, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the few people able to travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village's closing and try to convince Seer's daughter to return with him before it's too late. But Forest has become hostile to Matty as well, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he cannot yet explain or understand.

In this novel that unites characters from "The Giver" and "Gathering Blue," Matty, a young member of a utopian community that values honesty, conceals an emerging healing power that he cannot explain or understand.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Newbery medalist Lois Lowry once again ushers readers into the hypnotic, disconcerting fantasy world she made familiar in her award-winning The Giver and its sequel, Gathering Blue, introducing us to young Matty, a boy whose role for Village is more profound than he thinks. Fraught with the same tension and subtle complexities of the previous novels, Lowry's third episode follows Matty -- who lives with Seer and doesn't yet have his true name -- as he keeps busy running errands through Forest and otherwise lives a youthful, carefree life. But Matty also has a power he can't explain, and when he understands that local attitudes are becoming intolerant and aggressive due to mysterious happenings at Trade Mart, the boy sets out to bring back Kira (Seer's daughter and the main character in Gathering Blue) before Village barricades itself entirely against outsiders. The novel crescendos as Matty and Kira make a heart-stopping, dangerous journey through Forest, and it packs a final punch when the hero summons his power and we learn his true name. The author, as usual, is a master at storytelling as she brings various plot threads together for a satisfying conclusion, leaving readers in this case with a bittersweet taste that will stay with them long after the book is finished. A must-have if you loved Lowry's two companion books, sure to be fodder for in-depth discussions. Matt Warner
The New York Times
Some critics objected to the unresolved endings of the first two books; others applauded. While Messenger may tie the three stories together just a little too neatly, it is still far from a sweet resolution. Up to the last anguished page, Lois Lowry shows how hard it is to build community. I suspect that many young readers will want to return to all three stories.—Hazel Rochman
Elizabeth Ward
It sounds abstract and portentous, but Lowry's mastery of dramatic pacing, eye for homey detail and sly sense of humor combine to make this allegorical world seem far more real than the cardboard-cutout malls and schools of many a "realistic" YA novel.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue. Matty, the scruffy thief from Gathering Blue, lives with the blind man called Seer and helps him around the house. Now an educated young adult, Matty delivers messages for Leader, the head of Village, traversing the sometimes inhospitable Forest. On one such mission, he discovers that he has the power to heal. Meanwhile, sinister attitudes begin to infiltrate his formerly tolerant Village-most notably in Mentor, the man who "tamed" Matty-and to threaten the principles on which it was founded. While Lowry intertwines compelling threads from past novels (readers discover what happened to Jonas, and that Kira also has a connection to Village), this story more than stands on its own. The author revisits some of the themes of her previous novels (the cost of striving for physical perfection; the benefits of inclusion), and takes them to another level. Because she continues to work in allegorical terms, her lessons about the effects of consumerism on society and the importance of knowing one's history never feel teacherly; instead, she allows readers to come to their own conclusions. And Matty himself, once a taker, in many ways brings the series full circle, becoming the Village citizen who offers the greatest gift. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Life is good for Matty and the Seer, the blind man with whom he lives in their open and friendly community. However, changes begin to take place. People become obsessed with trading for objects, and some have traded their "deepest selves." When some of the people vote to close the village to keep strangers out, Leader sends Matty to other villages so they will know what is happening. Matty also goes to the Seer's village to bring his daughter back. On the return trip however, the forest has turned angry and most foul. Matty must use every ounce of his being to bring the forest and life in the village back to normal. Lowry is a marvelous storyteller who grabs hold of the reader's imagination as strongly as the vines and branches of her terrible forest. Lowry's themes of the necessity of caring for one another, the importance of being open and honest, the significance of the relationship between humans and our natural surroundings are all worthy of discussion. However, for this reader there were some loose ends that were not satisfactorily resolved. The issue of the trading was left—perhaps intentionally—rather nebulous. The reader never learns the details of who is making the trades and what the people are trading in return. In healing the forest, Matty was able to heal all that was wrong with the people of the village—their greed as well as illness. It seems that no one was required to take responsibility for his or her own actions. This is a companion novel to The Giver and Gathering Blue, but it can be read on its own. 2004, Walter Lorraine Books/ Houghton Mifflin, Ages 10 to 14.
—Sharon Salluzzo
KLIATT
Lowry returns to the alternate universe (or post-apocalyptic world) of The Giver and Gathering Blue for this parable about a utopian village at the edge of a forest. Young Matty (from Gathering Blue) lives there with a blind man named Seer, doing errands for Leader (who is clearly meant to be a grown-up Jonas, the hero of The Giver) and others in the community. Matty has a special ability to make his way through the dangerous forest, and he discovers that he has another gift as well: the ability to heal. He gradually becomes aware that his idyllic, unselfish community is changing, as people start to wish for more than what they have and are even willing to trade their souls for what they want. (The scene depicting the village's ominous Trade Mart evokes the mood of "The Lottery.") Some villagers demand that the borders of the village be closed to strangers, and before a wall is erected Seer sends Matty as a messenger on one last errand. He is to find Seer's daughter, Kira (from Gathering Blue), who lives in another village, and return with her through the increasingly menacing forest. In the end, in Christ-like fashion, Matty must sacrifice himself to heal his community. Lowry's many fans will welcome this return to the fascinating world she has created, and to the provocative issues she raises. Once again, a young hero who must save society is featured, and Lowry's tale will make readers ponder the nature of humankind, the value of caring and sacrifice, and the kind of civilization to which we might aspire. Suspense builds gradually but inexorably to the desperate, tragic journey through the malevolent Forest, and readers will be left with much to thinkabout. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, 176p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
Fans of Lowry's Newbery-winning The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/VOYA August 1993) and its companion book, Gathering Blue (2000/VOYA October 2000), will find themselves brought back to the same world that bridges the two previous volumes by connecting characters and events, answering some questions but asking even more. Matty is the main character, a boy on the threshold of adulthood, who lives in Village with Seer, the blind man who has taken him in and raised him as his own. Matty is a messenger who travels throughout Village and occasionally through Forest, taking messages to the communities beyond. Village has been a welcoming place of refuge for others like Matty who have fled their homes to escape mistreatment and even death; however, something is different. People in Village are changing, and a group of townspeople have approached Leader demanding to close off Village to refugees. Through democratic vote, the will of the people prevails. Matty must warn the other communities that Village will soon be off-limits, and he must travel through Forest, which is thickening and growing more sinister day by day. His most important task is to bring Seer's daughter, Kira, back with him on his return journey, which becomes more ominous and more dangerous with every step. Matty's journey is one of self-discovery, and Lowry's simple prose belies complex issues of human nature woven throughout the story—faith, desire, and accepting the consequences of one's choices. As in The Giver, by the end of this book readers will want the story to continue to answer the questions that Lowry poses. VOYA Codes 4Q 5P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) wasdying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin, 176p. Ages 11 to 18.
—Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Matty, who has lived in Village with the blind Seer since running away from an abusive childhood, is looking forward to receiving his true name, which he hopes will be Messenger. But he is deeply unsettled by what is going on. He has discovered his own power to heal others and learned of disturbing changes within his community. Under the gentle guidance of Leader, who arrived in Village on a red sled as a young boy and who has the power of Seeing Beyond, the citizens have always welcomed newcomers, especially those who are disabled. But a sinister force is at work, which has prompted them to close admission to outsiders. Also, it seems that Matty's beloved Mentor has been trading away parts of his inner self in order to become more attractive to Stocktender's widow. When the date for the close of the border is decided, Matty must make one more trip through the increasingly sinister Forest to bring back Seer's daughter, the gifted weaver Kira. On the return journey, Matty must decide if he should use his healing but self-destructive power to reverse the inexorable decline of Forest, Village, and its people. While readers may be left mystified as to what is behind the dramatic change in Village, Lowry's skillful writing imbues the story with a strong sense of foreboding, and her descriptions of the encroaching Forest are particularly vivid and terrifying. The gifted young people, introduced in The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000, both Houghton), are brought together in a gripping final scene, and the shocking conclusion without benefit of denouement is bound to spark much discussion and debate.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Leader came to Village as a young boy on a red sled, the remains of which are in the Museum, a symbol of courage and hope to all of the villagers who came from elsewhere, fleeing poverty and cruelty. But the utopian community is in danger and young Matty must make a journey to save his friend Kira and bring her to Village before walls are erected against outsiders. Told in simple, evocative prose, this companion to The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000) can stand on its own as a powerful tale of great beauty. Though it does offer connections to its predecessors, it is not a mere postscript to them, but something new and grand: a completely enchanting, haunting story about the dark corruption of power and good people using their gifts as weapons against it. Readers will be absorbed in thought and wonder long after all of the pages are turned. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher
"Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Lowry moves far beyond message, writing with a beautiful simplicity rooted in political fable, in warm domestic detail, and in a wild natural world, just on the edge of realism." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"Told in simple, evocative prose, this companion to The Giver (1993) and Gathering Blue (2000) can stand on its own as a powerful tale of great beauty." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440239123
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/24/2006
  • Series: Giver Quartet Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 31,623
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 312 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(166)

4 Star

(80)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 313 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Basic review

    While reading 'Messenger' by Lois Lowry, I was interested in the book after the first chapter with its connections to its previous books, new plot line & setting, and its exciting start. All of the characters come together into one book, but this is not noticable right away. From both 'The Giver' and 'Gathering Blue', things start to fall into place. While reading both 'The Giver' and 'Gathering Blue', it was hard to understand some consepts and some things didn't make sense. This occured at the beginning of 'Messenger' as well, but it incorperated all 3 books into one enjoyable read of adventure and romance. The writing style of this book has made me even more interested to read it because it makes you feel like you are there, experiencing everything on the sidelines, like a director behind the scenes of a movie. While reading 'Messenger', it was hard to put the book down. Before I knew it, i could have been reading for 3 hours straight and be almost finished with the book. This book is a great read if you like action and adventure with new twists every few chapters. I really enjoyed this book because it kept me thinking, and never really being sure of what would happen next.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2008

    intense book

    I liked this book better than Gathering Blue, but less than The Giver. It was an interesting read and VERY intense!!! Only read this book if your up for a REALLY intense book.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Tristan

    This book is amazing!!!!!!!!! The plot is never ending. It is also a page turner and will make you think. If you like books that are never ending action then you will love this book.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Loved it!

    This is the final book of The Giver trilogy. It is a terrific dystopic/fantasy book pointing out the many temptations that lead us from true happiness. A wonderful trilogy that I would recommend to everyone ages 13 and up.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    To y

    I was lookin to c if i wanted to get this book thanks for the spoiler u dumba**!!!!!! >:-(

    4 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    The messenger


    This book was really good overall. The ending dissappointed me alittle.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Messenger

    Is Jonas really the leader?

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Get to the point

    Im sick and tired of looking at the reviews to see if a book is worth my time and money to only see every review is an over view of the story. If i wanted to know what happans in the story i would read it so can you stop spoiling it for the ones who havent read the book and just tell me if its good or not!

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    Wow

    This book was by far another powerful and passionate book. Just like The Giver and Gathering Blue there are strong messages that often arent explained. However the mystery of the concepts and messages make it more appealing and thought-provoking. It is a very intense book ti read and each if the preceding protagonists are brought together through accidental means. However, you will not be disappointed with it. Lowry never ceases to amaze me. There are so many depths of each of these books that it could be considered somewhat unappreciated.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    Teh Man Eating Forest

    My book the Messenger is about a boy named Matty that wants to be a messenger. Matty has a friend that is blind named, Leader, and they live together. Leader has been wanting his daughter, Kira, to come home but he can¿t get her because he is blind. Leader asked Matty to see if he could try and persuade her to come home. It took Matty a day to get to Kira¿s house. It took what seemed like a couple of days but was really only a day to finally get her to come home. When they were on their way back to the community, Village, the forest started to come alive.' hurting them' Matty and Kira suffered a lot of pain and weakness, but Matty has a power to reprieve themselves.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    One of the best.

    Some people say this book "sucks" . But, I say it is great and that those people are liars. Who cares if it didn't have the best ending, it is still one of my favorite series ever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2012

    I have read "The Giver" and then "Gathering Blue.

    I have read "The Giver" and then "Gathering Blue." While I don't think this one lives up to "The Giver", it is a good book. What I love about Lois Lowry's books is her unique way of telling a story with a powerful message that every reader interprets a little bit differently. Each reader takes away what he or she needs most. Many reviews for "Messenger" say the ending was bad. I won't spoil anything - but this novel ends much the same as life. Not everything in life ends in rainbows and unicorns!

    Readers need to remember that these are COMPANION books - not a series. We, as well as authors and the publishing world, have conditioned readers to read only books in a series and we forget, again, that life doesn't always happen that way. Different people are living different lives all simultaneously. What started with "The Giver" is successfully carried out in this book. I am quite interested in reading the final companion book "Son." And I don't expect anything - which is the BEST way to read and often ends with the best surprises!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Ugh

    The fourth book better fix all the flaws in giver and messenger like asap. This ending was awful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Anonymous

    I know that in that in the Giver series The Giver comes first but I am not sure what book comes next, Gathering Blue or this book. Can someone tell me what the next book is?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lois Lowry's worst

    "The Giver" was one of those books that had a profound effect on me when I first read it ten years ago. "Gathering Blue" was a surprisingly different but worthy successor. Compared to those two, "Messenger" was a bitter disappointment. The strengths of those books were in the way the protagonists had to confront moral issues in the form of the societies they lived in, with these societies playing such allegorical roles that they became the primary antagonists. Here, unfortunately, Lowry chose to take a decidedly heavy-handed approach to this classic man vs. society formula, literally making the 'society' antagonist come alive (by means of a Whomping Willow-esque forest) and making character interactions almost insultingly simplistic. For example, the fact that people participating in "Trade Mart" suddenly and inevitably succumb to greed and selfishness is a not-very-subtle message saying, "Materialism is bad", though there is no reasoning, substance, or point to this message. The result is a story that is bland and nondescript (a village called Village, a leader called Leader, etc., but what IS this place exactly?), somewhat unbelievable (why is the forest the manifestation of the villagers' bad karma, and why can it be defeated so easily?) and utterly, infuriatingly preachy. In short, this book undermines the subtlety and complexity that the first two books were so enriched with, by throwing the characters we've come to know and love into a vaguely metaphorical and ludicrous personification of a society.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Exceptional book

    The Messenger is the 3rd book in the Giver series after The Giver and Gathering Blue. I have read all three books and the best book out of the three is The Giver, then Gathering Blue, and finally The Messenger. I don't like the title of the books because they never focus on the main point in the book. The Messenger is odd but successful because of the plot, storyline, and the suspense. It answers a few questions that we wonder about from the other books in the series. I would recommend this book for grades 5th and up because it has words that an 8th grader won't know but the 5th grade reader will still understand the whole story. I would also recommend it for 5th graders and up because it has some violence. A few examples are that a villager gets entangled by Forest and a lot of people in Village get injured from all of the attacks from Forest. This book focuses too much on the battle to get through the Forest to get to Village. The long journey through Forest was the worst part. It would have been better if the journey through Forest was shorter. The journey to get to Village takes up a good 5 chapters or so. But the beginning and the middle is awesome. Lois Lowry writes a few chapters full of science fiction which is pretty cool. The whole book isn't a book I would read over and over again, but it was exceptional book with a satisfying ending.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    GREAT BOOK!

    The Messenger
    By: Lois Lowry

    The messenger is overall a great book. It ties in very well with the series of the Giver. The beginning of the book may be a little boring, but as the book progresses it becomes very exciting. It's like eating a big, juicy hamburger. The first bite may not be as good, but towards the end it's the most brilliant thing you have ever eaten! This book is a good book, but the series is not appropriate for kids under 6th grade because they might not understand the story. The book may sound a little childish, because of matty's healing powers, but Lois Lowry doesn't make it seem cartoonish, she makes it feel like this it is reality not some cartoon. I would highly recommend it for the kids out there who are wasting there time watching TV or playing video games. This book changed my perspective in reading, on how so detailed Lois Lowry wrote this, the suspension in this book is so deep i couldn't stop reading until i met the end. Overall, this book was a great book.

    Joshua J Grade 7

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Not the best

    The Messenger did not "live up to my expectations." I expected it would be more Kira and how she hanged her village she lived in, not some story about Matty discovering new secret powers and saving the world. After analyzing the book, I realized that it moved away from the science fiction theme in the first two books, Giver and Gathering Blue, to fantasy and super powers. The antagonist moved from imaginary beast in the forest to the "Forest" itself. Also, the ending leaves you with more questions than answers. I would not recommend this book for young readers. For older readers, I would recommend that you read the first two books before this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    The Messanger

    Matty is now a teenager. He had came here as a baby, running away from his terrible village. He now lives with a blind man named Seer, he has 2 friends one named Ramon and one named Jean..Jean always teased him about giving him a kiss someday, but now her father wants to close off the village to all new comers.The blind man sends Matty on a dangerous journey to retrieve the blind man's daughter on the other side of the forest, before the village is closed off.Matty has been traveling the paths of the forest many times before, but the forest has not yet given him warnings. When he took off Jean finally kissed him. It takes Matty days to get to Kira (blind man's daughter). They begin to head back and Kira is wounded as well as Matty.They ignore the warnings knowing they have to keep going. The blind man asks the leader if he can tell him how they are doing. The leader would know this because he can see beyond as if his eyes are small but very powerful telescopes. Matty and Kira keep going, but both are severely injured...will they make it back?.......

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2009

    Messenger

    Matty is a young boy who lives in Village. His job in Village is to deliver messages from his Village to another by going through Forest, which is very dangerous. I read this book over the summer for school. I think it is good for all ages. Messenger by: Lois Lowry was a good book, but not my favorite. If you are a fan of Giver than you will probably like this book. Matty is a young boy who wishes he could grow up faster. He lives in Village which is the better place to live out of all the communities. But it is not like any other place you will ever live. Matty shares a house with a blind man named Seer, and will help him with his every day activities. Matty is the Messenger in Village. His job is to spread news to the other communities. The Forest he has to go through is deathly and if it doesn't want you to come back it will send threatening signs to you. Lois Lowry wrote the book Giver. She loves writing about weird places to live.The characters in this book are Seer, the blind man. Matty, the main character. Kira, Seer's daughter. Leader, the person who is like the president of Village, and Ramon Seer's friend. I think the characters were relatable, especially Matty. He is a young boy who can't wait to grow up . But Matty looks forward to getting his real name, that is not really something we look forward to. I think the theme was that even if it gets tough who shouldn't give up, and put others first. The style of this book is a little weird and I think that is what turned me off. The setting takes place in Village a community that anybody could come to, but the Leader has decided to not allow that anymore. I think the book did very well by getting the message out there that there are more important things in life. All in all this was a good book but not my favorite. Matty is relatable, and Seer is wonderful. Matty does a good job at his work and getting through Forest takes a lot of courage, but he goes out of his way to help Seer.I think everybody should read it for fun, and to see what real sacrifice is. And also to see that helping a friend isn't always easy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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