Christianbook.com Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Giver

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Giver

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened."

Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas watches his friend Fiona named Caretaker of the Old, and his cheerful pal Asher labeled the Assistant Director of Recreation. But Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man -- the man called only the Giver -- he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Told with deceptive simplicity, this is the provocative story of a boy who experiences something incredible and undertakes something impossible. In the telling, it questions every value we have taken for granted and reexamines our most deeply held beliefs. Recommended for ages 12 and up. The 1994 Newbery Medal winner.

Average Customer Rating:
3.312 out of 5
3.3
 out of 
5
(16 Reviews) 16
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (16 reviews)
5 stars
7
4 stars
3
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
6
3 out of 560%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Giver
Review 1 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Horrific book!!!!!!!!!

Date:November 9, 2013
Customer Avatar
MommaT
Location:WV
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Value: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
My son had to read this piece of garbage in 7th grade. Gave us BOTH nightmares! Horrific book! Can't believe a Christian store is selling it!!!!!!!!! PARENTS BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!
-7points
0of 7voted this as helpful.
Review 2 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Interesting book about a closed society

Date:January 18, 2013
Customer Avatar
Casey
Location:Missouri
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The book was good, but I am still not sure about the ending. It was kind of ambiguous. It leaves you wondering exactly what happened to the main character. Still, It is a great study about a closed society, and I am using it for a Literature unit for my student.
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 3 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 2, 2012
Customer Avatar
Blaine
Age:18-24
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Based on other reviews, it is clear that there is apprehension among some people about this book. But it is important to not just focus on the content, but how it is presented. This is a very deep story with some touchy subjects and I will agree that you should read this before letting your child. Or at least read with your child so you can input your influence where you feel needed.
Though overall, the book doesn't shine a favoring light on the events that occur in the government portrayed. And yes there is the subject of sexuality in the book, but at the very least it can be a way of introducing there views you believe they ought have on the matter, rather than them learning about it first from their peers.
It's a beautiful story that in the end teaches that anything can be overcome, and that what the truth will always find a way of flourishing even in a world where the term deceit is unheard of. In a world where everyone is blind to the true nature of what they are doing.
+4points
5of 6voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 21, 2011
Customer Avatar
History loving mom
Location:Tennessee
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a must read for every Believing American. It causes you to really think about what it would be like to live in a totally controlled society. Very chilling and sobering.
+6points
6of 6voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Not okay with this book...at all.

Date:August 28, 2011
Customer Avatar
Lyssa
Location:Great Falls, MT
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
I am currently a student in college studying to become an elementary school teacher. I was assigned this book for a children's/adolescent literature class. As I began to read this book, I got a very uneasy feeling, and it just got worse as I progressed through the book. I am honestly appalled that this book would be considered children's or adolescent literature. I do not believe the argument that this book is meant to bring up good discussion. Think of Phil. 4:8 - Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure...think about such things. Although the main character in this book is grieved by "release" of the people, I do not see anything true, noble, or pure about this book. This book is not appropriate for children. Perhaps it has a place in a Biblically-based worldview class like the one I took in high school, but I would never allow my own children to read this book until at least the later years of high school. Honestly, this book made me feel sick as I was reading it. As the children's song goes "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see...Oh, be careful little ears what you hear..." We are instructed in Proverbs 4:23 to "guard your heart." I believe we are failing the youth of our nation-which has already strayed terribly from faith in God-by exposing them to literature such as this. Public schools will not discuss this book from a Christian worldview, so I deeply worry about what messages our students will be indoctrinated with.
0points
24of 48voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:September 10, 2010
Customer Avatar
Graeme
A lot of people complain that this book has elements in it unsuitable for child readers. If you are trying to decide whether to let your child read it, I strongly suggest you consider the following.It is absolutely true that this book portrays some appalling behavior, such as the killing of a baby. It is shocking. HOWEVER, the book CLEARLY condemns this behavior. Some people who criticize this book think that, because it shows these things, it must be supporting them. It does NOT support them. It teaches children to hate such things. It teaches children that evil things are sometimes hidden away, or done in the name of goodness, and that being a responsible citizen means refusing to accept such things and standing up against them. To be honest, I'm a bit worried about people who can't see this... The bad people in this book hide books away so that no one will ever learn to question their society. The parents who won't let their children read this book seem to be doing the same thing.
+12points
15of 18voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 29, 2010
Customer Avatar
Kristen
I really don't know what to say about this book. I'm sixteen, and would reccommend it to other sixteen-year-olds; twelve- or thirteen-year-olds, not so much. It's deep, disturbing, beautiful, heartbreaking, and it definitely makes one think. The issues raised are mature, and I would suggest that it not be given to anybody not mature enough to handle them. Parents, please read this before allowing children or younger teens to read it.
+8points
9of 10voted this as helpful.
Review 8 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 10, 2010
Customer Avatar
Anne
I am a homeschooling mom, and this book will definitely be a part of the high school curriculum for my children. It is an excellent portrayal of the extremes that can happen when man tries to create a utopian society without God's laws. The book starts out like all is well, but as each chapter unfolds you see the horrors that exist and become aware of the fact that certain pleasures can no longer be experienced. All is done so that everyone can be equal and secure, but there is a profound price to be paid. If you take anything away from this book, take away the fact that God's way is perfect and moving away from His will in any situation may lead us down the road to living in a society like the one that Lois Lowry has portrayed in this book.
0points
3of 6voted this as helpful.
Review 9 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:July 29, 2009
Customer Avatar
Michaela
I originally read this book in the fourth grade and then again in the eighth. I was forced to think about the elements in it as a young person, and it was hard. However, I am so very thankful for the influence that this book has had on my perspectives and philosophies. It is not a book about being deceptive and distrusting. It is a book about seeking the truth and reality above all else. I believe it is similar to "The Matrix" for children. As a Christian, a teacher, and a conservative, I think that this book is not only appropriate, but important for younger teens to read. I have since reread it multiple different times throughout my life and as an adult and, every time, I walk away having learned more from it. Help your kids to see the value in walking in truth and standing up for what's right. Read with them!!
+4points
5of 6voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:July 5, 2009
Customer Avatar
Wendy
I will start this by noting I am a Christian homeschool mom of a 12 year old boy. A friend of mine has a 13 year old in public school and she asked me to read this with my son, stating it was, "Great!" I chose to pre-read this one instead of reading it with my son. I am so glad I did this. This book has a lot of levels, some on puberty, some on sexuality, the value of human life, deception, and more. Not a "bad" book, however definitely a deep book and a distrubing book. The murdering of an infant, for instance, was pretty horrible to read. I could see value in this with a college literary class, however certainly not with impressionalbe middle schoolers.
+3points
6of 9voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:May 29, 2009
Customer Avatar
Joette
My 7th grader is reading this book for his Literature class and when he told me it was sad I soon found out why. In the 19th chapter a woman, who is apparently chosen as a birthmother (considered to be a very low position in society)has given birth to identical twin boys. Identical twins are not permitted in this society and therefore the smaller of the newborns must be killed. This chapter goes into explicit detail of how they inject a syringe filled with poison into a vein in the tiny baby's forehead, with a 12 year old boy watching. After the baby's body goes limp, the man wraps him in a blanket and throws him in a trash shoot! I cried when I read this. What a huge lack of regard for human life this book is portraying! There are many other issues in this book I feel are hugely inappropriate for kids. I am in the process of trying to get this book banned from his school's curriculum... I was shocked to see that a Christian website would offer this book to it's customers! Whatever happenend to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens? Don't let your kids read this poison!
+1point
9of 17voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:March 3, 2009
Customer Avatar
Lauren
I was deeply troubled by this book. To be honest I don't find it appropriate for any age level. In my opinion this book exposes children to sex and sexuality, human euthanasia, and leads children to think about things that just aren't appropriate.
-4points
5of 14voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:September 7, 2008
Customer Avatar
Eva
Oh boy! This book has a lot of talking points that I'm not sure my 12 year son is ready to discuss. There are issues with sexuality, murder and deception. At one point the main character even comes to realize his parents aren't truthful and he can't trust them. Yes, I think this book points out the glory and freedom in choices and if we don't guard them our world would be a disaster. Parents, I would just say you need to read it for yourselves. Know what your children are reading and talk about it. Once you read the book you'll understand why on the author's website there is a question about a parent wanting to ban the book. I think this would be a great book for a much older audience than Middle School.
-1point
2of 5voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 12, 2007
Customer Avatar
steven
This book is classic! The book may be very short but it is very good to. I highly suggest this book for all!
0points
2of 4voted this as helpful.
Review 15 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:June 10, 2007
Customer Avatar
Nick Neal
I loved this book I remember reading it in eighth grade, It really paints Scary and yet frighteningly realistic picture of what the World will be like if(or when) the Liberal agenda goes too far. As a Christian Conservative I applaud this book.
+3points
5of 7voted this as helpful.
Review 16 for The Giver
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 16, 2005
This book is absolutely amazing! I thought that this book was excellently written in a unique setting. It's one of those books that you can read again and again, everytime noticing different things.
0points
2of 4voted this as helpful.