This is one of the most debated book series that I have encountered in my time teaching. However, it also one of the most moving. Never has a book caused more questions, deep thinking, and introspection on the part of the readers as The Giver. This happens every time I read any book in the series; the big life-altering, brain-filling questions take over, accompanied by a great story.
The series begins with The Giver, published in 1993 and winner of the Newbery medal the same year, is set in a future society that, at first, seems perfect. They embrace the idea of Sameness-a plan that has eliminated pain and sadness from the lives of their citizens. However, the citizens have also given up most emotional meaning in the trade. The story beings by following the main character Jonah as he turns twelve and learns about his future career. Jonah inherits the position of "receiver of memories". This is important in case anyone needs help making a decision based on the time before Sameness. While receiving the memories from The Giver, Jonah begins to see the scary truth behind his community, and must decide what to do with this new knowledge.
The next book, Gathering Blue, takes place in a society completely different from the world in The Giver. After her mother's death leaves her an orphan, Kira does not know what her future holds. The Council steps in, and gives her room and board in exchange for repair of the cloak that is worn at the Ruin Song Gathering by the singer. This cloak shows the history of the culture, and Kira realizes that it also holds the future. The title references her need to create blue dye, and create a future that is better for herself and those of her world.
Messenger looks into the future for Matty, a character that has appeared in a supporting role in both The Giver and Gathering Blue. Matty is a messenger for the village he lives in, a village that takes in the outcasts from the surrounding communities and uses them as a way to create a whole community where no one feels unwanted or turned away. Something is changing, and the once welcoming place decides to close its doors to newcomers. Frightened by what this means for him, and his job as messenger, Matty must make one last trip to seek Kira (from The Giver).