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Although not immediately obviously connected to the giver and so it could be read separately in its own right that might be a pity if you are going to continue with the third and fourth books in this quartet. I read it, at bedtimes, to my Grandson and both of us thoroughly enjoyed it. This one has a girl as the main character but that does not mean that it is not suitable for boys. There is also a lots of interesting information about dyeing and embroidery and some of it had us looking up things on the internet the following day. Thoroughly recommended.
This is a lovely book, it only hints that it's set in the same world as The Giver. I figured by the end that somehow the world at that time is divided into communities, and this is another one.
This one is in fact crueler than the society in The Giver. But more straightforward. So being ill or disabled means being left out in a field to die. However some children have gifts, similar to Jonas in The Giver, and those children are removed and looked after to exploit their gifts for the community. Girls and women are oppressed and not allowed an education.
There are some great characters in this, Kira, the main character is very interesting and engaging, and I adored Matt, the naughty little boy with the little dog, and there is a very cute little girl who sings.
Having read the Giver I felt I had to follow the journey created in the quartet, I wasn't disappointed.The story moves away from the Giver and shows a different way of control over the population. Once again it was very well written and pulls you into a very difficult story and the grief caused by the 'Rulers'. If you read the first book, you have to commit to reading the other 3 books, it will make so much sense when you do.
Not as terrifying as The Giver, this second in the quartet shows all the anger from the first book against those who are different, who do not conform, who feel inside so much more strongly than others.