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4.2 357
by Lois Lowry

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

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
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
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

Product Details

Random House Childrens Books
Publication date:
Giver Quartet Series , #3
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

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

Meet the Author

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 or follow her on Twitter @LiosLowryWriter.

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Messenger 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 357 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good overall. The ending dissappointed me alittle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Messenger is a very good book. I highly recommend it.
bluejacket7 More than 1 year ago
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!
Skittlezzzz More than 1 year ago
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?.......
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this disappointing because of the ending. It was'nt what i expected and i wish it ended differently. I realized that everything in the giver connected to the society Matty lived in. Like how Jonas was the leader of the village and the red sled was up on display and it was a very important object to the village. Worth reading but some points were very boring kinda like the rest of Lowery's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Giver is my absolute favorite book, when I found out Gathering Blue was coming out I was very excited. It was a good book even though I missed Jonas. Then when I heard that Messenger was coming out and Jonas was in it I was estatic. I was extremely dissapointed with this book. It seemed like Jonas wasn't the same person, except once or twice in the whole book was he how I remembered him in The Giver. I was also dissapointed that Gabriel was only mentioned once in the whole book. I didn't think this book let the characters grow, and wasn't written as well as the previous two.
Anonymous 18 days ago
Giver,aering blue,messener, then son i believe
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At puppies res 4
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Matty lives with blind man and has a secret power and he hopes leader will give him the name messanger he knows the forest very well and gose back to his old village and comes by his old friend kera and they head into the forest but dont know what is ahead of them.
LoLo420 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read this yet but i did read the giver. Someone please please please list all the books in this series in order. Please. Respond to ImThatGirl please thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lowry does an outstanding job of creating yet another community of secrets. She uses words in a brilliant way and brings tears to my heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good booooook. Warning: there was a review written on November 26 that spoils things, I accidentally read it before the book and I hope you dont make the same mistake if you haven't already read it. Disclaimer: this book review is not responsiblr for anyone who thinks my name is anonomous or Meow murf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How does she write such good books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Messenger and LOVED it! What I loved most about The Messenger was all the connections and sybolism. To me, Matty had a lot of similarities to Jesus. Whether you are religious or not, that is totally fine, though, and I don't want to discourage you from reading this if you're not. It's really just an inference I've made- it doesn't mention it anywhere in the book. I would reccomend this book to anyone who has read Gathering Blue and The Giver because Messenger doesn't really make sense unless you've read the first two. I felt the characters were real and easy to relate to, and that the setting was cleverly thought out. The book really makes you question yourself and ask: Is selfishness creeping into my heart or home? Hope this review helped! Enjoy Messenger : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the giver series Lois Lowry has made amazing books!