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Messenger Mass Market Paperback – January 13, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,056 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up-Matty, who has lived in Village with the blind Seer since running away from an abusive childhood, is looking forward to receiving his true name, which he hopes will be Messenger. But he is deeply unsettled by what is going on. He has discovered his own power to heal others and learned of disturbing changes within his community. Under the gentle guidance of Leader, who arrived in Village on a red sled as a young boy and who has the power of Seeing Beyond, the citizens have always welcomed newcomers, especially those who are disabled. But a sinister force is at work, which has prompted them to close admission to outsiders. Also, it seems that Matty's beloved Mentor has been trading away parts of his inner self in order to become more attractive to Stocktender's widow. When the date for the close of the border is decided, Matty must make one more trip through the increasingly sinister Forest to bring back Seer's daughter, the gifted weaver Kira. On the return journey, Matty must decide if he should use his healing but self-destructive power to reverse the inexorable decline of Forest, Village, and its people. While readers may be left mystified as to what is behind the dramatic change in Village, Lowry's skillful writing imbues the story with a strong sense of foreboding, and her descriptions of the encroaching Forest are particularly vivid and terrifying. The gifted young people, introduced in The Giver(1993) and Gathering Blue (2000, both Houghton), are brought together in a gripping final scene, and the shocking conclusion without benefit of denouement is bound to spark much discussion and debate.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-10. Like Lowry's hugely popular Newbery winner, The Giver (1993), this story dramatizes ideas of utopia gone wrong and focuses on a young person who must save his world. Teenage Matty lives with his caregiver in the Village, a place of refuge, where those fleeing poverty and persecution are welcomed with kindness and find a home. But the Village people are changing, and many have voted to build a wall to keep the newcomers out. The metaphor of the wall and the rage against immigrants ("They can't even speak right") will certainly reach out to today's news images for many readers. But Lowry moves far beyond message, writing with a beautiful simplicity rooted in political fable, in warm domestic detail, and in a wild natural world, just on the edge of realism. Matty lives with his blind caregiver, Seer. Both of them were driven from home and nearly perished. The drama is in their affection; in the small details of how they cook, care for their puppy, and tease one another. Matty teases Seer about his blindness, even though they both know Seer sees more than most. In contrast is the terror of Matty's secret powers and the perilous journey he must undertake to save the Village. The physical immediacy of his quest through a dark forest turned hostile brings the myth very close and builds suspense to the last heart-wrenching page. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737166
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,056 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com

author interview

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#24 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I gave this four stars because I did read it in one session, despite my being exhausted-- Lowry sure knows how to pace a story and set up a world. Some thoughts:

1) It does help to have read the Giver and Gathering Blue. If you have, some of the offhand references have a lot more power. It's wonderful to meet up with Jonas (here called Leader) and Kira again, and see that their worlds coexisted. It's also increasingly clear that this is definitely our own world in the future, for not only do they share some place names (in Gathering Blue) but there are references to Moby Dick and to Shakespeare. So it's not "like" Earth, it is Earth.

2) A society defined by how inclusive it is of outsiders is a great idea! so it was nice to make that a defining issue, since if you've read The Giver, you know firsthand how it is that people have a place to go.

3) But there are a lot of loopholes. If it is our world, how did it become so full of magic? The forest has a spirit all its own. This is an issue in the previous two books but it seems larger here. And:

a. who is the mysterious Trade Master? What's in this for him? Why is Trade bad, but market day not... do they have a currency they were using?

b. what has happened to the old society of Jonas'-- we know he got books... but I wanted to know more. it seems odd that he thinks about his sister, but not his brother. Unless his brother is referred to somewhere in the book by a True Name and I just missed it-- where the heck is Gabe?

These questions leave you wanting yet one more sequel! and that's all right with me, because I'm a fan of Lowry's-- may she go on writing these!

Raises some interesting philosophical questions, like the previous two, so I imagine it would be a good one to read with kids (I'm an adult).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
With this book Lois Lowry finishes her thought-provoking trilogy of "Giver", "Gathering Blue", and "Messenger." From two previous books the readers have already know something about Leader (from "Giver"), Kira, Matty, and Seer(from "Gathering Blue"). In this last book all of them unite to face the sinister force that takes over the Village and affects the forest.

Matty has been traveling back and forth through the forest to deliver messages. But the forest is changing, taking on a dark side, becoming alive with dark force that has affected some of the villagers who "trade the parts of inner self". It's not the same Village anymore - it no longer welcomes the newcomers. The village people vote to build a wall to keep the newcomers out; the vote prevails, and Leader of the Village has to give in.

Matty is changing as well, his change is new to him - he feels the healing power grow within him, the power he is not completely aware of yet. The boy decides to set on his last quest through the dark forest to bring Kira, the Seer's daughter, before the villagers finish building the wall. His trip trough the hostile forest turns out to be a life-threatening experience for both of them, and the price must be paid...

"Messenger" is a book about the utopia gone wrong. It's full of powerful metaphors that blend in with a great work of fiction.

Julia Shpak
Author of "Power of Plentiful Wisdom". Available on Amazon.
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Format: Hardcover
When "Messenger" was first published there was a bit of an outcry from the children's librarians/educators of the world. As you may know, this book is the third in the Lowry trilogy that began with her often-banned-but-never-forgotten-classic "The Giver". It continued with "Gathering Blue" and ends here with "Messenger". The point of contention comes because depressing suppositions made from the first book now appear to have been wrong all along. In this third book, it appears that the heroes of the first two books are alive and well. Go figure! "Messenger" stands as a book that ties all three in the series together tightly. It almost pulls it off too.

You may remember Matty from "Gathering Blue". Once a dirty gamin with a faithful pup and a dislike of baths, Matty has joined a wonderful community. In a world where deformity and dissent are punishable by death, a town has arisen that takes in and heals all people in need. Matty has lived with his blind guardian there for years and the two have grown comfortable together. Unfortunately, something terrible is happening to the town. People have begun to trade the deepest depths of their souls in exchange for less important objects and qualities. There is a growing movement amongst the townsfolk to no longer bring in any outsiders in need. Greed is devouring the good of the land, and this evil is reflected in the town's nearby forest. Suddenly Matty is sent on a journey of unknown peril to fetch his guardian's true daughter and bring her safely into the town. Worse still, the forest is preparing to destroy them.

Like the previous books in the trilogy, "Messenger" has a straightforward writing style that's appealing to read. This book is part post-apocalyptic, part out-and-out fantasy.
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Format: Hardcover
I must say that after reading the reviews for 'Messenger' online while I was placing my order I was a little surprised at the number of people that didn't care for it. I have never read Lois Lowry book that I didn't enjoy. 'The Giver' and 'Gathering Blue' are two of my favorie y.a. novels. After reading 'Messenger' I fell in love with her writing all over again. It takes a great deal of skill to write a book that is on a young adult level, but is so well written, descriptive, and thought provoking to engross adults as well. Soon after finishing the book (which only took about 2 days) I quickly had coworkers reading it, also. I highly recomend this series to any parents of young adult readers, and to the parents as well. I feel that it is a story that all will enjoy. The best part is, the ending still has us wanting to hear more from Lowry. I can only hope that means this trilogy will be transformed into a fourth book.
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