4.4 198
by Lois Lowry, Bernadette Dunne

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“They called her Water Claire.”
When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen.
Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to

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“They called her Water Claire.”
When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen.
Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow. And so her journey began.
But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger. As tempted as she is by the warmth of more human kindness than she has ever known, she cannot stay. Her son is out there; a young boy by now. Claire will stop at nothing to find her child . . . even if it means trading her own life.
With Son, the two-time Newbery Medal–winning Lois Lowry has spun another mesmerizing tale in this thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to The Giver.
“Claire’s story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Editorial Reviews


Wednesday, May 29- Thursday, June 6, 1776

...we have in common With all other men a naturel right to our freedoms without Being depriv'd of them by our fellllow men.... we were unjustly dragged by the cruel hand of power from our dearest friends and sum of us stolen...and Brought hither to be made slaves for Life in a Christstian land Thus are we deprived of every thing that hath a tendency to make life even tolerable...

— Petition for freedom from a group of slaves to Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage, His Majesty's Council, and the House of Representntatives, 25 May 1774

The days started early in the Lockton kitchen. Since Becky lived in a boardinghouse on Oliver Street, it fell to me to wake first and build up the fire. She did the proper cooking, and I did near everything else, like washing pots and plates and beating eggs till my arms fell off for Madam's almond jumbles and plum cakes with icing. If not in the kitchen, I was removing colonies of spiders, polishing tables and chairs, or sweeping up a mountain of dust. I saved the cobwebs, twisting them around a rag and storing them by our pallet in the cellar.

Cobwebs were handy when a person had a bloody cut.

Madam complained every time she saw me: I left a streak of wax on the tabletop. I tracked in mud. I faced a china dog toward the door after I dusted it, which would cause the family's luck to run out. At the end of every scolding, I cast down my eyes and said, "Yes, Madam."

I kept careful track of her the same way as I used to mind the neighbor's bull when I took the milk cows out to pasture. She had not hit me again, but always seemed on the edge of it.

Mostly Madam slept late, wrote letters, and picked out melodies on a badly tuned spinet. A few times, she and her husband conversated fast and quiet about Mr. Washington and when the King's ships would arrive for the invasion. They argued fierce on Thursday night. Lockton shouted and called Madam rude names before storming out of the house, the front door crashing behind him.

Ivowed not to cross neither of them.

Madam went to bed early that night, so we did too. Ruth snuggled next to me and fell asleep quick. I lay awake, praying hard but gaining little comfort.

I was lost. I knew that we were in the cellar of a house on Wall Street, owned by the Locktons, in the city of New York, but it was like looking at a knot, knowing it was a knot, but not knowing how to untie it. I had no map for this life.

I lay awake and stared into the darkness.

Madam called for tea in her bedchamber the next morning and sent for Ruth, who was pumping the butter churn with vigor.

"Why would she need Ruth?" I asked as I wiped my sister's hands and face with a damp rag.

"Why does she do anything?" Becky asked. "I'm to climb to the attic to fetch the cast-off clothing in an old trunk. Maybe she'll set the little one to rip out the stitches so the dressmaker can use the fabric. This best be the last of the day's fanciful notions. My knees don't like all this upping and downing of the stairs."

Ruth stayed in Madam's chamber for hours. I spilled the fireplace ashes on the kitchen floor, then kicked over the bucket of wash water I brought in to clean up the mess. I stubbed my toe and near cut off my finger whilst peeling an old, tough turnip.

When I could stand it no more, I snuck out of the kitchen and tiptoed down the hall. I could hear the sound of Madam's voice from the bottom of the stairs, but not the words she was saying. I wanted to march up there and tell Ruth to come back and finish the butter.

I did not. I forced myself to work.

Becky took a tray of cookies and a pot of tea upstairs late in the afternoon. I pounced when she returned to the kitchen.

"Is Ruth well? Why does Madam keep her?"

Becky chose her words with care. "Madam has taken a liking to your Ruth, on account of her being so tiny and quiet." She sat at the kitchen table. "She means to use her for a personal maid."

"Pardon me?"

"Most of Madam's friends have a slave to split wood and carry chamber pots, like you. If Madam has a slave dressed in finery, well that makes her more of a lady. Ruth can fan her when she's hot, or stir the fire when she's cold."

I forgot myself and sat down across from Becky. "She's making Ruth into a curiosity?"

Becky nodded. "Aye, that's a good word for it."

I went cold with anger, then hot, then cold again. It wasn't right. It wasn't right for one body to own another or pull strings to make them jump. Why was Madam allowed to hit me or to treat Ruth like a toy?

"Take care," Becky warned, pointing to my lap.

I looked down. My hands were clenched into fists so tight the cords that held my bones together could be seen. I released them.

Becky leaned across the table and spoke quiet. "I don't imagine you like this much. Can't say I blame you. But don't lose your head. Madam is not afraid to beat her slaves."

I rubbed my palms together. "Do they own more than us?"

"Half a dozen down to the Charleston place, none up in Boston. Never been to the Carolinas, so I don't know how they get along. But you need to calm yourself and heed what I am about to tell you."

"Yes, ma'am," I said stiffly.

"Two, three years ago, there was another girl here, slave like you. She talked back. Madam called her surly and took to beating her regular-like. One day she beat her with a fireplace poker."

"Did she die?"

"No, but her arm broke and didn't heal right. It withered and hung useless, so Madam sold her."

I could not hold the hot words in my mouth any longer. "She best not come after me with a poker. Or hurt Ruth."

Becky leaned back and studied on me a bit. "You ain't never going to say something like that again, not in my kitchen. I get paid decent here, and I won't let some girl like you get in the way of that. Wearing pretty dresses ain't going to hurt the little one, so wipe that look off your face and fetch me some more wood."

After that, Ruth's every waking moment was spent with Madam. Though we worked in the same house and slept under the same blanket, we had little time to talk. Ruth was permitted to sleep until the sun rose, went to bed when Madam retired, and rarely had to work in the kitchen or garden.

I lay awake every night, heart filled with dread, recalling the dangerous offer made by the boy in the floppy red hat.

Copyright © 2008 by Laurie Halse Anderson


Thursday, June 6, 1776

...hundreds in this [New York] Colony are active against Us and such is the weakness of the Government, (if it can deserve the Name) that the Tories openly profess their Sentiments in Favour of the Enemy, and live unpunished.

— Letter of William Tudor, Washington's chief legal officer, to John Adams

I was stuck on the back steps with a pile of dull knives and a whetstone. It was a dreary job. First, spit on the stone. Next, hold the knife at the proper angle and circle it against the stone; ten to the left, ten to the right, until the blade was sharp enough to slice through a joint of beef like it was warm butter.

As I sharpened, I imagined using the knife to cut through the ropes that tied us to New York. I'd slice through the ocean, and Ruth and me would walk on the sand all the way home. Ten circles to the left...

Ruth was abovestairs, standing by whilst Madam prepared herself for company. The master was locked in his library. Becky was somewhere in the crowd watching General Washington parade down Broadway with five regiments of soldiers. The sounds of beating drums and whistling fifes, and the cries of "Huzzah! Huzzah!" blew toward me over the rooftops.

I pushed everything out of my mind, save my task. Ten circles to the right...

Becky came back from the parade an hour later, overflowing with stories. She nattered on about the spectacle whilst assembling the tea things for Madam and Lady Seymour, who had come again to call. I pretended to listen. Truth be told, I didn't notice when she left carrying the tray.

Ten circles to the left, ten circles to the righty, all make the blade sharp and mighty. Ten circles to the left, ten to the right...

Becky called for me twice before I heard her proper. Her voice was high and tight. "...I said to hurry! You want to get me put on the street? Madam wants you in the parlor."

T he knife near slipped from my hands. "Is it Ruth?"

"No, the Lady Seymour wants to see you. And the master just arrived with gentlemen friends all calling for food and drink. Hurry!"

I washed up in the cold water bucket, quickly pinned on a clean apron, checked my kerchief was on proper and followed Becky to the parlor. She rapped lightly on the door and pushed it open. "The new girl, ma'am," she said, setting a plate of fresh-baked strawberry tarts on the table.

"Show her in," Madam said.

Becky waved at me to enter.

Madam and an older woman sat at the table, but my eyes were drawn behind them, to my sister, dressed up as Madam's pretty pet in a bleached linen shift, a navy-blue brocade short gown, and a full skirt patterned with lilacs. When she saw me, she clenched her hands together and bit her lower lip. Her eyes were red and swollen with crying.

My belly went funny and my mind raced. Why had she been crying? Was she sick? Scared? Did Madam hurt her?

Becky poked me gently in the back. This was not the time for questions.

I quickly dropped into a curtsy, bowing my head. When I stood up, the older woman, the lady aunt with all the money, gave me a shadow of a smile. She was smaller than Madam and wore a silk gown the color of a mourning dove and gray lace gloves. Her hair was curled high and powdered snow white. A necklace set with black stones shone from her neck. There were deep lines at the corners of her eyes and around her mouth, but I couldn't tell if they were from laughing or from crying.

She turned in her chair and looked at Ruth, then back at me. "And these two girls are the sisters?" she asked.

Madam reached for a tart. "That's what the man said."

The older woman sipped her tea. "What is your name, girl?" she asked me.

"Isabel, ma'am," I said. "Isabel Finch."

"Ridiculous name," Madam said. She opened her fan and waved it in front of her face. "You are called Sal Lockton now. It's more suitable."

I forced myself to breathe in slow and regular instead of telling her that my name was not her affair. "Yes, ma'am."

She glanced at my feet. "And you must wear your shoes. This is a house, not a barn."

Ruth stepped out of her corner. "Isabel."

Madam snapped the fan shut and rapped it against the edge of the table, startling us all. "What did I tell you about silence?" she said roughly.

Ruth raised one shaking finger to her mouth and said, "Shh."

"Precisely." Madam set the fan in her lap and reached for a piece of sugar with silver tongs. When she plopped it in the cup, the tea overflowed into the saucer.

Ruth stood there like a carved statue, her finger still held to her lips. I took another breath, slower than the first, and tried not to think on the newly sharpened knives on the kitchen steps. Lady Seymour curled her fingers around the teacup, her gaze marking first Madam, then Ruth, then me. She said nothing.

"Would you like Sal to serve you and Lady Seymour while I wait on the gentlemen?" Becky asked.

"Absolutely not. Show her the library and make sure the men are fed. And bring fresh tea. This has already gone cold."

We curtsied and left the parlor. Ruth's sad eyes followed me to the door.

Ten circles to the left, ten circles to the righty, all make the blade sharp and mighty.

Back in the kitchen, Becky took a large silver tray off a high shelf in the pantry. "Hold this." She loaded the tray with plates of cold sliced tongue, cheddar cheese, brown bread, and a bowl of pickles. I could not stop thinking about the way Ruth had jumped when Madam shouted, nor the tears in her eyes.

Becky took down a second tray and set upon it four goblets, two bottles of claret wine, and a crock of mustard. She swung the kettle back over the fire to heat up more water, picked up the tray with the wine, and said, "Hop to."

I followed her to the front of the house. "But, what about my shoes?"

"The master won't notice long as he gets his grub." Becky balanced the edge of the tray on her hip and knocked on the door on the right side of the front hall. When a deep voice answered, she opened it.

Lockton looked up as we entered. "Oh, good. Sustenance," he said, pushing aside a stack of newspapers to clear off the desk.

The room was the same size and shape as the parlor, but two of the walls had bookcases built into them. A large painting of horses jumping over a high hedge hung on the third wall. A thin layer of dust lay over everything. The front windows were open, bringing in fresh air and noise from the street; carts rolling over the cobblestones and church bells in the distance mingled with the voices of the four men who sat around the enormous desk.

One man looked poorer than the others; the cuffs of his coat were frayed and his hands were stained with ink. Next to him sat a man with suspicious gray eyes and a liver-colored coat with a double row of gold buttons fastened over a large pudding-belly. The third man wore something on his head that looked more like a dead possum than a wig, but his coat was crisp and new and the buckles on his shoes gleamed. The fourth was Master Lockton, looking like a cat who had just swallowed the last bite of a juicy mouse.

Becky set her tray on a sideboard. I held mine as she poured the wine and served the gentlemen. Then she had me hold the food tray so that she could serve the tongue and cheese. Talk halted as the men started in on their meal.

"Becky!" Madam called from across the hall.

"Go see to her," Lockton told Becky. "The girl can stay here. Does she know where the wine is?"

"Yes, sir," I said. Becky and Lockton both stared at me. I had spoken out of turn. My job was to be silent and follow orders. Ruth had already learned that. Shhhhhh...

"Keep the wine flowing and the plates full," Lockton said. "My friends eat more at my table than their own."

As Becky left, Goldbuttons drained his wine, then raised his goblet. I hurried to pour him another, and topped off the drinks of the other men. Lockton gave me a curt nod when I was finished. "Stand over there," he said, pointing to the corner where the two bookshelves met each other.

I gave a wordless curtsy and took my place.

The men dove back into their conversation. "Who has been arrested because of the oath?" demanded Lockton.

"Fools unschooled in the art of fence-sitting," said Goldbuttons.

"Plank-walking, you mean," said Inkstained.

Shabbywig leaned forward and pointed his finger at Inkstained. "Don't you turn the coward on us. Not when we're this close."

"Close?" argued Inkstained. "Do you see His Majesty's ships in the harbor? I don't. I might argue that England has fled and the rebel traitors have won."

"Lower your voices," Lockton said with a scowl. He closed the windows with a loud bang, then returned to his seat.

"His Majesty's ships are very close, closer than you know. This rebellion will be smashed like glass under a heavy boot, and the King will be very grateful for our assistance."

The mention of the King caught my ear. I studied the wide boards on the floor and listened with care.

Goldbuttons popped a piece of cheese into his mouth and talked as he chewed. "I sincerely hope you speak the truth, Elihu. These rebel committees are multiplying faster than rabbits in the spring. They've just about ground business to a halt."

"Have they interfered with you directly?" Lockton asked.

"Every waking moment," Goldbuttons said. "The latest bit of nonsense is a Committee to Detect Conspiracies. They've sent the hounds after us, old friend."

"Have you written to Parliament? They need the specifics of our difficulties."

"Parliament is as far away as the moon," complained Inkstained.

As the other men argued about Parliament and letters of protest and counterletters and counter-counterletters, Shabbywig stabbed at the last pieces of tongue on his plate and shoved them into his mouth. He turned in his seat to look at me, held up his plate, and grunted. If I had ever done such a thing, Momma would have switched my behind for having the manners of a pig. Even Miss Mary Finch had asked with a "please" and a "thank you" when Momma served her dinner.

This is New York, I reminded myself as I crossed the room and took the plate from his hand. The rules are different. I loaded his plate down with the last slices of tongue and set it in front of him before retreating to my corner. Everything is different.

My belly growled and grumbled in its cage. The smell of the tongue and mustard and the cheese filled the room and made my mouth water. I had eaten a bowl of corn mush at sunrise and only dumplings at midday. To distract the beast in my gullet, I tried to read the names of the books on the shelves without turning my head. My eyes were as starved for words as the rest of me was for dinner.

It was hard to read from the side like that. I wanted to pull down a book, open it proper, and gobble up page after page. I wanted to stare into the faces of these men and demand they take me home. I wanted to jump on the horse in the painting and fly over the hills. Most of all, I wanted to grab my sister by the hand and run as fast as we could until the cobblestones disappeared and there was dirt under our feet again.

"Girl," Lockton said. "Bring us more bread, sliced thin. And some of Becky's apricot jam. I've missed the taste of that."

I curtsied and hurried out of the room, leaving the door open a crack so I could easily open it when I came back with my hands full. Across the hall came the quiet conversation of Madam and Lady Seymour. I paused but heard no mention of Ruth.


There was fresh bread on the kitchen table, but it took a piece of time to find the crock of jam. I used one of my sharp knives to slice the loaf, set out the slices on a clean plate, and put the plate and jam on a tray. It was taking me too long to finish a simple chore. I feared the master would be angry with me, and I was angry at myself for being afraid.

I was just about to push open the library door with my foot when the master said, "Compliments of His Majesty, gentleman. There's enough money here to bribe half of the rebel army."

I stopped and peered through the crack.

Madam's linen chest, the one that she had fussed about when we arrived, was in the middle of the library floor, the top thrown open. Underskirts and shifts were heaped on the floor beside it. Lockton reached into the chest and pulled out two handfuls of paper currency.

"Huzzah!" said Inkstained as Goldbuttons let out a low whistle.

"Do you have a man ready?" Lockton asked.

"Two," Shabbywig answered. "One will operate out of Corby's Tavern, the other from the Highlander."

"Good." Lockton crossed back to his desk. I could no longer see him, but his words were clear. "Every man willing to switch sides is to be paid five guineas and two hundred acres of land. If he have a wife, an additional hundred acres. Each child of his blood garners another fifty."

"Makes me want to marry the next lady I clap eyes on," Goldbuttons said.

Lockton chuckled.

I gave the door a little push and it swung open. "Sir?" I asked in a hushed tone.

"Enter," Lockton said.

I walked in. The other men did not look my way. I was invisible to them until they needed something.

"Jam," he said with a smile. "Put it right here."

I placed the tray in front of him and took my place again in the corner. The men spread the jam on the bread and drank their wine, discussing politics and war and armies over the stacks of money on my master's desk. The smell of apricots filled the warm room. It put me in mind of the orchards down the road from Miss Mary's place.

I kept my face still as a plaster mask, but inside my brainpan, thoughts chased round and round. By the time the men rose to leave, I knew what I had to do.

Copyright © 2008 by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Giver Quartet Series, #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 5.95(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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The young girl cringed when they buckled the eyeless leather mask around the upper half of her face and blinded her. It felt grotesque and unnecessary, but she didn’t object. It was the procedure. She knew that. One of the other Vessels had described it to her at lunch a month before.

"Mask?" she had asked in surprise, almost chuckling at the strange image. "What’s the mask for?"

"Well, it’s not really a mask," the young woman seated on her left corrected herself, and took another bite of the crisp salad. "It’s a blindfold, actually." She was whispering. They were not supposed to discuss this among themselves.

"Blindfold?" she had asked in astonishment, then laughed apologetically. "I don’t seem to be able to converse, do I? I keep repeating what you say. But: blindfold? Why?"

"They don’t want you to see the Product when it comes out of you. When you birth it." The girl pointed to her bulging belly.

"You’ve produced already, right?" she asked her.

The girl nodded. "Twice."

"What’s it like?" Even asking it, she knew it was a somewhat foolish question. They had had classes, seen diagrams, been given instructions. Still, none of that was the same as hearing it from someone who had already gone through the process. And now that they were already disobeying the restriction about discussing it—well, why not ask?

"Easier the second time. Didn’t hurt as much."

When she didn’t respond, the girl looked at her quizzically. "Hasn’t anyone told you it hurts?"

"They said ‘discomfort.’ "

The other girl gave a sarcastic snort. "Discomfort, then. If that’s what they want to call it. Not as much discomfort the second time. And it doesn’t take as long."

"Vessels? VESSELS!" The voice of the matron, through the speaker, was stern. "Monitor your conversations, please! You know the rules!"

The girl and her companion obediently fell silent then, realizing they had been heard through the microphones embedded in the walls of the dining room. Some of the other girls giggled. They were probably also guilty. There was so little else to talk about. The process—their job, their mission—was the thing they had in common. But the conversation shifted after the stern warning.

She had taken another spoonful of soup. Food in the Birthmothers’ Dormitory was always plentiful and delicious. The Vessels were all being meticulously nourished. Of course, growing up in the community, she had always been adequately fed. Food had been delivered to her family’s dwelling each day.

But when she had been selected Birthmother at twelve, the course of her life had changed. It had been gradual. The academic courses—math, science, law—at school became less demanding for her group. Fewer tests, less reading required. The teachers paid little attention to her.

Courses in nutrition and health had been added to her curriculum, and more time was spent on exercise in the outdoor air. Special vitamins had been added to her diet. Her body had been examined, tested, and prepared for her time here. After that year had passed, and part of another, she was deemed ready. She was instructed to leave her family dwelling and move to the Birthmothers’ Dormitory.

Relocating from one place to another within the community was not difficult. She owned nothing. Her clothing was distributed and laundered by the central clothing supply. Her schoolbooks were requisitioned by the school and would be used for another student the following year. The bicycle she had ridden to school throughout her earlier years was taken to be refurbished and given to a different, younger child.

There was a celebratory dinner her last evening in the dwelling. Her brother, older by six years, had already gone on to his own training in the Department of Law and Justice. They saw him only at public meetings; he had become a stranger. So the last dinner was just the three of them, she and the parental unit who had raised her. They reminisced a bit; they recalled some funny incidents from her early childhood (a time she had thrown her shoes into the bushes and come home from the Childcare Center barefoot). There was laughter, and she thanked them for the years of her upbringing.

"Were you embarrassed when I was selected for Birthmother?" she asked them. She had, herself, secretly hoped for something more prestigious. At her brother’s selection, when she had been just six, they had all been very proud. Law and Justice was reserved for those of especially keen intelligence. But she had not been a top student.

"No," her father said. "We trust the committee’s judgment. They knew what you would do best."

"And Birthmother is very important," Mother added. "Without Birthmothers, none of us would be here!"

Then they wished her well in the future. Their lives were changing too; parents no longer, they would move now into the place where Childless Adults lived.

The next day, she walked alone to the dormitory attached to the Birthing Unit and moved into the small bedroom she was assigned. From its window she could see the school she had attended, and the recreation field beyond. In the distance, there was a glimpse of the river that bordered the community.

Finally, several weeks later, after she was settled in and beginning to make friends among the other girls, she was called in for insemination.

Not knowing what to expect, she had been nervous. But when the procedure was complete, she felt relieved; it had been quick and painless.

"It that all?" she had asked in surprise, rising from the table when the technician gestured that she should.

"That’s all. Come back next week to be tested and certified."

She had laughed nervously. She wished they had explained everything more clearly in the instruction folder they had given her when she was selected. "What does ‘certified’ mean?" she asked.

The worker, putting away the insemination equipment, seemed a little rushed. There were probably others waiting. "Once they’re sure it implanted," he explained impatiently, "then you’re a certified Vessel.

"Anything else?" he asked her as he turned to leave. "No? You’re free to go, then."

That all seemed such a short time ago. Now here she was, nine months later, with the blindfold strapped around her eyes. The discomfort had started some hours before, intermittently; now it was nonstop. She breathed deeply as they had instructed. It was difficult, blinded like this; her skin was hot inside the mask. She tried to relax. To breathe in and out. To ignore the discom—No, she thought. It is pain. It really is pain. Gathering her strength for the job, she groaned slightly, arched her back, and gave herself up to the darkness.

Her name was Claire. She was fourteen years old.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Written with powerful, moving simplicity, Claire's story stands on its own, but as the final volume in this iconic quartet, it holistically reunites characters, reprises provocative socio-political themes, and offers a transcending message of tolerance and hope. Bravo!"
Kirkus, starred review

"Lowry is one of those rare writers who can craft stories as meaningful as they are enticing."
Booklist, starred review

"Son is a tender conclusion to this memorable story, and definitely the best of the books in this sequence since The Giver itself."
School Library Journal, starred review

"The strength of this novel is its compassionate portrait of a mother's commitment to her lost child."
Horn Book

"In the completely absorbing opening, Lowry transports readers back to the horrifying world from which Jonas came."
Publishers Weekly

“A consummate stylist, Lowry handles it all magnificently: the leaps in time, the shifts in perspective, the moments of extreme emotion — fear, joy, sadness — all conveyed in unadorned prose that seizes the heart. Give this book to your child, your grandmother, your senator, your neighbor: It’s a bipartisan tale for our times.”
The Washington Post

“Lois Lowry's Son [is] a gripping end to the Giver series”
The Los Angeles Times

“It's the kind of book that will stay with you for days as you wonder about what it says about human nature, society, and the future of society.”

"A quiet, sorrowful, deeply moving exploration of the powers of empathy and the obligations of love."
The New York Times Book Review

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Son 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 199 reviews.
DaniO21 More than 1 year ago
This story was wonderful. Lois Lowry has a certain way of making the reader think deeper into life and what is important therein. I became interested in this book because of my love for Lowry's "Giver" which I read over, and over again! These books are aimed for adolescents/young adults, but I think that they are extremely appealing to adults as well. (I wish Lowry would take the endeavor into a full-length novel! It would be such a treat!)
IrishMe More than 1 year ago
Lois Lowry did not intend to write a fourth book in her "Giver" series. She thought the story was concluded in "Messenger," written in 2004. But she started thinking about Gabriel, the child Jonas saved in the first book, and that led her to thinking about his mother . . . and her thoughts developed into such a satisfying novel that one would think it was planned all along. We return to the Community we met in "The Giver" and experience life there from the point of view of Claire, the young girl who received the assignment of Birth Mother. When things go wrong with her delivery, the Community is not prepared for such a thing, and so Claire falls between the cracks of the Community's system. She begins to search for the baby she birthed. She eventually finds Gabriel, living in the loving community we found in the second book, and the narration switches to the teenage Gabriel's point of view. In the end, Gabriel saves the community by using the power of love and compassion. A very satisfying novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read "The Giver" many years ago, and numerous times, I found it very satisfying to have closure to the story. "Son" fills in the blanks about many of the unknowns that this reader had, and many students I read the story to, about what it was like in the original setting of "The Giver." There were many times while reading "Son" that I did not want to put the book down...Lowry hooks the reader to want more, and to keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ugh im like crying as i type this. This is so sad. This book is amazing and wonderful. It is worth every penny. I love this book!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the giver in middle school and it left a deep mark on my life, so much so that I remember and love it almost 8 years later. Though this book starts of great, it faltered through the final pages. I really enjoyed re-exploring the community in the first part of this novel, but the ending was too strange and far-fetched for me (with talks if magic and yadayada, felt like I was reading Harry Potter). For this reason I give it 3 stars. It was promising, but left me dissapointed in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember reading The Giver in fifth grade and crying through the ending--I'm a huge fan of Lowry's work, especially the Giver series, and purchased Gathering Blue and Messenger as a middle schooler. I loved the worldbuilding and subtlety of the first three books, and when I realized that Lowry had written Son, a fourth, final novel in the series, I immediately went to pick it up! The first section of the book, which describes Claire's life in the original Giver community, recaptured much of the feel of the original book, and it was fascinating to see how events from Claire's perspective fit together with what we already knew about Jonas' fate. (And I'll admit it: I am 17 years old and still put down the book and screamed like a little girl. I was really excited, okay?!) Though I can see why some people might have felt the second part was dragging, especially because (POSSIBLE SPOILER?) she never gets to interact with any of the characters or come back for them after making her way to the new community, I still enjoyed getting to know the new characters and seeing relationships develop between Claire and her new surroundings. (Though I do feel that it was a lot of time spent on what was essentially a pit stop between her original home and the new community, and the relationship-building was not always fully fleshed out.) Overall, though, I found Son mostly satisfactory until the third and final part of the book. I wanted to like this last section so much because it promised to tie everything from the first three books together--the fate of Gabe, the relationship of Kira and Jonas, the role of Trademaster--but I feel that when Lowry tried to resolve all these things neatly, it resulted in a forced, rushed, and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion. I'm still glad I read Son because it's nice to be able to connect all the pieces from The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger in my mind, but I don't think I'll be rereading Son.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I've waited a long time to get a b&n gift card to get this book. I've read all the other books in the Giver quartet. They are really good. My teacher, the one who introduced me to these books, has only read the first book but she wants to read the others. I have the second & third book in paper back so I gave the second book to her to read. She hasn't read it yet, because she is really busy with all the papers to grade and her master's class. But she has promised me she would when she could. I told her the second book was out of place intill you read the third book. And she was like " Oh, it's like you read something and it doesn't make any sence till you read the next one or you watch a movie and at the end it leaves you hanging or it just stops right in a weird part and you are wondering 'Why did they even put that in this moive.' ." And I was like "That's kinda what it's like, but not really, and there is a twist ending in the third book. Any way I like this book very much, accually I love this boo?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought there were only three! In sixth grade, i read everything written by Lois Lowry. Now, in ninth grade, i am just coming upon this book by chance. I have to read it! Five stars goes to anything written by Lois Lowry and her answer to my email!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this easy to read series. Would highly advise buying / borrowing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started off and couldnt put it down at first...loved revisiting Jonas' community again...answered alot of questions that The Giver kept us in the dark about! However, the chapters dedicated to the fishing village were a bit of a snoozer...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kyla Anderson Ms.Molloy E/LA September 19, 2013 Son, by Lois Lowry TheTruth on Son According to Kyla Anderson             Have maternal instincts? I didn’t think so. In the fantasy novel, Son by Louis Lowry, the main character, Claire, has to do just that. Claire lived in a community where some women are used just to make children. Claire had complications with her birth, and then found out that her son had gone missing. Claire has no idea how to find him at first, and she experiences many hard challenges while trying to find him.             When readers pick-up Son, they should overall expect a similar theme to The Giver quartet, The Giver quartet are four epic books, all relating to each other.  In The Giver quartet, there is always something to the theme of “being courageous is the key to saving a life”. For example, in The Giver, Jonas ran away from safety, shelter, and even risked his own life to save a baby’s life. In Messenger, Matty, who is portrayed as Jesus, saved everyone’s life so that evil wouldn’t exist. Matty died for his village members. Lastly in Son, a young teenage boy saved his mothers life. This shows that when a reader picks up The Giver quartet,they should expect a similar theme.             I would recommend this book to a reader because some parts of the book were a definite page turner, I almost couldn’t put it down. For example, the part of the book when Trademaster traded Claire’s youth away so that she can find her son (Lowry 265). I felt so surprised while reading that part, I was saying “Oh my goodness!” I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Also, another reason why I’ll recommend this book is because I feel that other females can relate to Claire’s problems. For example, when Claire’s friends and the village members rejected her (Lowry 194-196), other women have those feelings too. Lowry imbues this conundrum for women in Son.  However, I wouldn’t really recommend Son because it does get a little confusing. Take for example when Claire is regaining her memories back (Lowry128). When I read that part, I had to think a couple times about what the narrator meant. I asked myself questions over and over again, just to try to understand. Another part of the book where I got confused was when Claire was giving birth, and how Lowry explained that Claire was having a C-section (Lowry 8). I had to read it couple times to try to understand exactly what was going on. I think the type of reader that should read Son is a reader who doesn’t get distracted easily. So I wouldn’t recommend this book to a reader who gets distracted easily.            Overall, I thought Son by Lois Lowry was a very interesting novel. It’s not the usual type of book that I read, but I’m definitely glad that I had the chance to read this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the character Claire and getting to go back to parts from The Giver. HOWEVER... I am left with so many questions because the ending didn't wrap anything up. I was intrigued by The Community in The Giver, and wad disappointed that the next two books in the quartet didn't have more focus in that area. Was hopeful when I started to read Son, but highly disapointed with the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all three books and this one really ties everything together. I thought it was a good book and it was very interesting. I also like how throughtout the book it was very capitvating. It also answered a lot of questions from the giver and what happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I long wondered what happened to Jonas and Gabe once they escaped. I was excited when I began reading. . .The story told from the birthmothers' viewpoint. . . Interesting and exciting. Quickly I found the links from the other books and couldn't stop reading, but the ending was a let down. Everything built towards the moment where Gabe had to save his mother but the encounter with the Trademaster was lacking and abrupt. Just though for a final book it would have been more satisfying. Kind of a let down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“It’s going to be up to you then, you must destroy him” (Lowry 343). Son is well known for being a cliff hanger, a page turner. This book is about a girl named Claire who gives birth to a baby boy who is sadly, later taken away from her. Now her mission is to find him and when she does, she loses him again. Later, she ends up in a different community determined to be reunited with her son. This fantasy novel by Louis Lowry is mysterious and intriguing which will astound readers. When readers pick up Son, they should expect a story similar to the other books in “The Giver quartet.” For example, all three books share a similar theme: taking the road less traveled and being courageous is the best way to go. For example, in Son, Claire is first starting to climb the hill/mountain to try to see her son and be reunited with Gabe (her son’s name) (Lowry 240). This demonstrates that the themes are similar. Additionally, it means that Son’s theme is about taking the road less traveled and being courageous. In The Giver, Jonas is being courageous and “taking the road less traveled” by leaving the community. In Messenger, Matty is being courageous by “taking the road less traveled” because he leaves the village and goes through the forest to get Kira, the blind man’s daughter. Lastly, Claire shows courage because she leaves the village just to see Gabe. In conclusion, when readers pick up Son, they should expect the same story in the other books of “The Giver Quartet,” to be similar because of the theme. I do recommend the book Son to every adolescence and adults. This is because it is a page turner and there are surprises in the story that holds the readers interest. For example, in Son, Gabe figured out from Jonas that he was to destroy a certain danger who can easily take control of the village (Lowry 343). This demonstrates that the book is a page turner and surprises could keep you interested because you want to know what Gabe is going to actually do. This would also get the readers interested because the plot is so mysterious. In conclusion, I do recommend this book because it’s fascinating and it is a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MA Son, Lois Lowry “Son: Does it really end with a heroic ending?” Have you ever found a book dramatically heroic in a silent way? “The Giver Quartet” by Lois Lowry is the perfect example for it. In the fantasy novel, Son, Claire, a young woman searches for her son. She faces many obstacles in her path. The terrific part about the book is that even though the beginning would give the ending away, you would want to know what happens in the middle. Additionally, in Book I of Son, Claire lives in the same dystopian society as Jonas. When readers pick up Son, they should expect a story similar to the other books in “The Giver Quartet”. They should expect similarities because Lois Lowry books were all made out of dystopian societies. For example The Giver is set in dystopian society this is certainly the similarity that Son and The Giver have in common, but the setting changes in Son. I would recommend Son to anyone. Lois Lowry’s books are a page turner because there are so many obstacles that you would want to know what happens every time a character does something and that doesn’t really with varies books I’ve read that have to do with fantasy novels. Lois Lowry goes way beyond with her books which make them outstanding and mysterious. For example, she would label things in her book religiously and you would get it in a way that it is unusual for a reader at first but once you connect it with other things. Vessels are introduced right those labels, Vessels are introduced right on the first page but is not said what it exactly is and then it is introduced later in Son (Lowry 8). In conclusion, I would recommend this book if you are interested in vague as good as this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Son: A Match Made at Birth” The epic saga between two friends who were destined to be together since birth. No. Son is not an epic novel of two friends. Instead Son is a fantasy novel of a mother long, restless, sorrowful journey in search of the Son she was never meant to have. Son is about a young girl named Claire who has to go through three very different societies to show the inevitable love for her son. While reading Son, you should expect to find some resemblance between the different books of “The Giver quartet”. But you should have a different feel from Son. For example, this book is almost always in Claire’s point of view (Lowry 8). This is what is most surprising because through all three books it is in Claire’s point of view. Although you would expect 3 different point of views. I would recommend this book to anyone from the ages of 12 to 100. The book never fails to keep you on the edge of your seat. For example Claire’s vividly described labor was very dramatic and quite exciting (Lowry 7 and 8). Once you begin to read you may never want to put Son down. Since there are many points of high tension in the book it is easy for you hooked the minute you begin to read. There is a different part that excites every type of reader who decides to read the highly recommended “The Giver quartet”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent read that will particularly touch girls and mothers who enjoyed Lowry's preceeding novels. While any reader can connect to the male protagonists in "The Giver" and "Messenger," (I have not read "Gathering Blue") Claire's struggles will particularly tug at the heart strings of 21st century teenage girls. Claire's problems mirror those women have faced for centuries, and will be poignant for readers regardless of their age or gender. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Son by Louis Lowry is the fourh book in an incredible series that opens your eyes and heart. This book ties together everything from The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. I know many people say that you do not need to read Gahering Blue and Messenger because they have nothing to do with The Giver, but I think you really should read the second and third book as they add detail and help you understand everything that happens. If you have not read those two books I ask that you please do that or you will, like many other people who haven't, think that this book is boring because you won't have the background knowledge of the story. Thanks and please, PLEASE read Gathering Blue and The Messenger before you read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! There are some confusing parts, but it is very enjoyable. I enjoyed The Giver, so I decided to read The Son. There are two books before The Son. You do not have to read them because it has nothing to do with The Giver. You finally get a ending to The Giver. I would read this book if you liked The Giver and want an ending or sequel to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An ending to the series, that is nicely written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting at first when the first book takes place in community with claire
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is such a rollercoaster you go from knowing Claire, to not knowing, to knowing her, to not knowing her, and back agian. I believe that the ending was the best part of the book because Gabe defeats he Trdemaster with out violence, uses his words nothing else. It sets a good example for any one who read it, the example is that violence solves nothing and your words solve a lot more than your actions do. I also love that where ever Claire goes she is loved and cared for. I really wish that her training for the climb out did not take so long because if it would not have taken so long so then her "new Mom" could have climbed out with her. Also I wish that her trainer did not get hurt during his cimb out and back so that he could have went also so that he could have helped Claire find her son with out the help of the Trademaster. Also Claire should have looked for her son with out the Trademaster because she almosr died. I really like how the book takes place during, before, and after The Giver. I loved this book a lot!!! Keep writing good books Louise Lowry ( I think that is how you spell the authors name) your doing great!!! This on is tha best from what I have read!!!! Thanks for all the good books to read!!! See you soon OR write to you soon!!! Bye!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book i did not stop reading untill i was done this is one of those books that you just wont to read over and over . This book about a14 year old pragnet virgin? Yes you see it is her job to do this she is chosen and is even okay with it . Over all i am impresed with this book and ejoyed every minute. Seriusly i almost cried when ... well read and find out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you read The Giver, you must read this! If you haven't, what are you waiting for?! Both are books I recommend to adults and kids both, and can't wait to share with my grandson, nieces, and nephews when they're old enough.