4.4 198
by Lois Lowry

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They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he…  See more details below


They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

Editorial Reviews

In eighteen years, Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry has written only four novels, all standalone novels set in the same futuristic world. This finale to The Given Quartet introduces a new heroine, a 14-year-old girl who literally washes up on the beach of this strange world.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Giver Quartet , #4
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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File size:
2 MB
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.