Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

I chose the book The Giver by Lois Lowry for many reasons. Being a middle school boy who spends most of my time playing sports and watching TV, reading is usually not on he top of my to-do list, but once I started reading The Giver I couldn’t set it down.

The Giver is a book about a boy named Jonas who lives in a community that is perfect. There is no pain, no war, no fear. There are no emotions. Everything is chosen for you, spouses, jobs, and even your children are given to you. But when Jonas gets a special role in the community, he figures out the real secrets of the past.

I liked The Giver for multiple reasons. First, I liked the idea of having a perfect world with no emotions and no feelings of your own. Throughout the book the reader gets this feeling that there is something weird is going on, but you can’t tell what it is. The reader knows that Jonas doesn’t know everything that there is to know.
Another reason is that I like Lois Lowry’s writing. I have read Gossamer and Gathering Blue (the next book the The Giver series) which have both been written by Lowry. Her writing is very descriptive, but yet easily understood. The way she describes what goes on in Jonas’s head. For example, she writes, “It was almost December and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen.” This shows how perfect everyone in the community is. Jonas has been taught to use certain words only when necessary.

I recommend this John Newbery Medal winning book to anyone who likes a book that has many twists and turns. Once someone picks up this book, they can’t set it down until every word has been read. This must read book is on the top of my favorite book list.

Tom Hill, a sixth grade student at Delta Middle School in State College, PA, spends most of his free time practicing sports.

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Book Review: Up Late with Genius The Game

Up Late with Genius The Game

When a student stays after class in the second week of school, talking about a book she thinks I need to read, and then hands me that book in the third week, I take some extra time over the weekend to read it.

Genius: The Game, by Leopoldo Gout, tells the story of three young geniuses with different skill sets, competing in The Game, held by a successful young entrepreneur. Painted Wolf is essentially a spy, filming secret business deals and exposing them online. Rex, a computer programmer and hacker, has a missing brother, which pushes him to create people-finding software. Finally, Tunde is an engineer who creates workable devices from recycled goods. Because he’s being blackmailed by a dictator in his country, he must win the competition and build a device that will meet the needs of the dictator while simultaneously undermining the evil ruler.

The book tells the story of each of these players, how they find their way to Boston, and why they want to compete.  What makes this young adult book a little different than others is the way it incorporates images, designs, and art on the page and the page borders.  There are schematics for inventions, screen shots from spy cameras, and bits and pieces of code.  While illustrations are not new for books, this particular text seems infused with the graphic elements, so they do not feel separate from the narrative.

While this is a fairly archetypal hero quest, the characters offer diversity for the reader’s interest.  Additionally, there were some interesting statements about creativity and power in the book. At one point, a character says, “we can’t remove ignorance but we can repress it.” Another portion I found particularly interesting arrive in the form of a rebellious group’s credo, called the Terminal Manifesto:screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-24-26-am

So if you have a student interested in programming, engineering, espionage, or film, this might be a good book to hand off to them. If you’re looking for a fun adventure story with strong-willed protagonists, this might be the perfect read for you.


Posted by Kate, VP Secondary, PCTELA

Book Review: Up Late with Genius The Game