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Son (Giver Quartet) Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,385 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Giver Quartet Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Those frustrated over the ambiguous ending of Lowry's The Giver (1993) will be thrilled with the conclusion (2012, both Houghton Mifflin) to the quartet. Listeners are brought full circle, returning to the fate of Gabriel, the little baby saved from "release" by Jonas. The story begins with Claire, who emerges from unconsciousness following a difficult birth to find that her child (or product) has been cut from her, and she has been "decertified." In the haste to get her to a new assignment, no one has bothered to supply her with the pills that everyone must take to keep them from feeling things. Claire develops an intense longing to find her son, leading her on a daunting and epic journey that weaves together the worlds and characters of the first three novels. Bernadette Dunne's whispery voice is perfectly suited to this dramatic, satisfying tale. Whether portraying the naive 14-year-old Claire or the evil Trademaster, Dunne captures the very essence of the characters. Lowry has again created a powerful tale rich with themes like sacrifice, loss, the importance of memory, and the restorative power of empathy that will elicit exciting classroom discussions. A must-have for all libraries with audio collections.-Lisa Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"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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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: Giver Quartet (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547887205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547887203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E.M. Bristol VINE VOICE on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While I was thrilled to see "The Son" by Lois Lowry, the final book in the "Giver" series available through Vine, I also felt guilty, having rated "The Messenger" more harshly than it perhaps deserved, having believed all along that the series was a trilogy, not a quartet. It didn't really explain what happened to Gabe, whose fate was left ambiguous in the first book. So that was one question I thought would remain a mystery.

"The Son" starts with the birth of a "Product" to a fourteen-year-old girl named Claire, who has been chosen as Birthmother in the same community where Jonas originally lived. Something goes drastically wrong, and although the child survives, Claire is left sterile, and relegated to a dull job at the Fish Hatchery. She's also left in the dark as to what has happened, having been blindfolded throughout the procedure. None of her fellow community members can offer any enlightenment and do not share Claire's maternal yearnings (or any type of passion). (Fans of "The Giver" will easily figure out why Claire is different.) As a result, she is somewhat alienated but very determined to see her son again.

From the hatchery, Claire gets a chance to view the incoming ships and a taste of what a different community might be like. She also begins volunteering at the center where the "newchildren" are and becomes friendly with Jonas' father, who works as a nurturer there. As she figures out that Gabe (or the fractious young "Number Thirty-Six") is indeed her son, the series reader is on familiar territory and knows ahead of time what's going to happen.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Like so many others, I loved "The Giver". I finished reading it and started right out reading it again, something I have done with almost no other book in my life. I felt like it was a near perfect book. I eagerly read "Gathering Blue" and "Messenger" and was rather disappointed with both of them. They contained good enough reading, but felt far more ordinary than The Giver---like books that had been written before about fairly primitive societies with mild supernatural elements. They didn't have the stunning oddness of the society in The Giver. I had high hopes that Son would loop back to where it all started and revisit that world.

"Son" does indeed start in the same society as "The Giver", but it is set during the same time period as the first book, and in a lot of ways, simply retells that story from a different perspective. The story then moves to a new society, a seaside world set at the edge of a cliff seperating it from the rest of the world, and then to the world of "Messenger". The story follows Claire, a birthmother from the Giver society, on a quest. I won't give away any plot points, but the book works to tie everything up, and in a lot of ways, it does. However, in the ways I truly wanted, it didn't. We really have no more idea than when we started as to the whys of it all. How did this world come to be, split in small odd societies? How did the strange world of The Giver get planned and started? Why is technology so different in each world? Most of all, I would just like to find out more about Jonas and Claire's original home, the planned, sterile world of The Giver.

The writing is skilled here, and the emotions portrayed are dramatic.
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Format: Hardcover
Before I begin, allow me to say that I read an advance copy, so there may be changes to what this final book became. No matter the changes, it is clear the direction that this book was going. And it is a disappointing end to this series, one whose quality declined with each successive book.

The Giver itself, of course, is wonderful. It is everything that young adult fiction should be, from start to finish. Even now, with technology being what it is, the book holds up perfectly well and will probably hold up for a great deal longer. If you've read Lowry's acceptance speech for the Newbery Award for The Giver, you know how much of her life went into this book. It shows. It's crafted, with precision. I enjoy The Hunger Games series, but they're about as far apart as possible while both still being Young Adult fiction. I get the sense of time spent with The Giver, and it's both in how the book was written and how it is presented. Watching Jonas digest his world in the bits and pieces he is fed by the Giver is spellbinding.

Lowry's acceptance speech in 1994 has always bothered me, however. Her insistence that she won't tell you the true ending ("There isn't one," she says. "There's a right one for each of us, and it depends on our own beliefs, our own hopes.") of course was eliminated with the two previous sequels, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. We know what happened at the end of The Giver, or at least what did NOT happen. A great deal of guesswork was eliminated, and that flies in the face of that first book and what ending was published. We actually DO know what happened with Gabriel and Jonas on that sled at the end of the Giver.
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