This is one of those books that has been on my "to-read" list for years, only because so many other people have listed it as one of their top 100 books. I never looked into what it's about, and just chose it as my next read after Mary Roach's Stiff because I was looking for a world to escape into that wouldn't simultaneously give me horrible nightmares and keep me awake at night thinking about my heartbeat. (lol)
I think it's a YA novel, it's hard to tell sometimes if nobody tells you. What exactly defines a YA novel anyway? I should Google it instead of asking rhetorically on my blog. BRB, time to do some research.
Okay so the defining characteristics of a YA novel are as follows:
- They are mainly written to appeal to 12-18 year olds (although they seem to find a broader audience), and usually feature a main character aged 15-19, with most adults in the background of the story as supporting characters or villains.
- They are written in a simple straight-forward language that young readers can understand, with a memorable voice and a lot of authentic sounding dialog.
- They are usually quickly paced and are written from the first person point-of-view.
- They can be written in any genre but are usually written in the vein of a "problem novel", meaning the protagonist has their first confrontation with a social issue, or has a (realistic) struggle between family members or friends, or they struggle in finding their place in society.
- These novels frequently feature sex, drinking and drugs, explore themes that teens can relate to (interactions with authority, identity, family, growing up, etc) and tell the story of the protagonist "coming of age".
So there you go. Yes, I'd say The Giver is a YA novel.
I'm so glad I finally gave this book a shot. It is excellent! In fact, I read the entire thing in 24 hours, no lie. I was so immediately into the story I couldn't stop reading until it was over.
I don't want to give anything away but I will tell you that if you're hesitating in reading it because the title reminds you of The Giving Tree and you assume it's a hippie dippy book about trees and sharing, you are very wrong. It's more Hunger Games/dystopia/fucked up than that. So just read it you wieners.
And hey, if you don't have the time to read a short awesome novel (WTF IS WRONG WITH YOUR LIFE) then guess what, it's coming out as a movie this summer. Check out the trailer! It looks a little different from the book but that's probably for the best, it wasn't the most cinematic tale.