Gathering Blue: The Giver, Book 2

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Gathering Blue: The Giver, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Captivating quest tale pits gifted girl against brutal odds.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 49 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Having a talent gives you the responsibility to use it to help your society. Don't lose hope, even when you feel overwhelmed. Friendship, kindness, honesty, and helping others make the world a better place. Stand proudly, even when you're afraid.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kira is a strong female hero who's resourceful and thoughtful. Nearly abandoned to the field to die, she's lost both her parents and is lame, but she remains strong, brave, and kind. She befriends those who will accept her friendship, helps others when she can, and uses her talents to make the world a better place. She stands proudly even when she's afraid, speaks honestly, and makes brave, selfless choices. Her talent for embroidery is valued by the leaders, and that has saved her. However, where others may have used that talent selfishly, only to protect themselves, she realizes that having talent also gives her the responsibility to use it help make her society a better place. 


Though it's not graphically shown, Kira's father tells how he was clubbed, slashed, blinded, and left for dead. Kira's threatened by women who want her land. A mother has poisoned her child with oleander. Parents slap their children, men fight over weapons, and many people are mean and spiteful, not to mention scarred. Villagers are told that the forest is full of beasts that will maim and devour them if they stray from the path. 


A reference to coupling.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gathering Blue is the second book in Lois Lowry's The Giver quartet. While this book could stand alone, as can the others, it makes more sense and is more powerful when read with the other three, in order. Read second, Kira's story adds another dimension to Jonah's dystopian experience and promises more development and adventure. Both take place in the future after some kind of cataclysmic, world-shattering event and seem to fit together somehow, though exactly how is not clear. Kira's world is more savage and disorderly, with the kind of violent brutality that readers might expect in a story set in medieval times: Deformed people are outcasts, parents slap their children, day-to-day life is meager, dirty, and angry, and villagers are fearful and superstitious. However, as in The Giver, a young person with special qualities emerges as the hero, and the overriding message is that kindness, honesty, and a selfless use of talent will create a better future for all. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylollygirl070 April 9, 2008
it was okay
Adult Written bycafpow January 15, 2011

Not a fan.

I can't even get into this book, I hate it actually. I don't think there is a good plot, my child was trying to read it for a book report and she exce... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 23, 2011

Gathering Blue is more kid friendly

Lighter than the first book, Gathering Blue is a kind story about your special talents and abilities, friendship, and discovery. There is a bit of gorey violenc... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 6, 2012

Domo Right

If you liked the story The Giver by Lois Lowry you probably wont like this story! this story is totally different I never would've guessed Lois Lowry would... Continue reading

What's the story?

Kira, born with a bad leg in a harsh society that shuns imperfections, is left an orphan when her mother suddenly dies of a mysterious illness. To her surprise, she's taken in by the Council of Guardians, given a comfortable room with food and indoor plumbing, and allowed to pursue the craft for which she has an unusual talent: embroidery. She trains with an old woman in how to make dyes and is given the task of restoring the robe worn by the Singer once a year, when he sings the history of the world to the people of the village. Unfortunately, as she learns along the way, she's only one of the artists whose talents are valued and perhaps exploited. Their elevated status, it seems, comes with a price: They may be pampered and admired, but they're not free.

Also, their unusually kind treatment hides many mysteries. What really happened to her parents? Why have they been taken in? Who is crying on the floor below? What is the nature of her talent that so interests the Council? With Thomas, a boy with a similarly unusual talent for carving, also orphaned and taken in by the Council, and Matt, a cheerful little urchin from the Fens, she begins to explore the nature of the society she has taken for granted.

Is it any good?

The parallels with Lois Lowry's Newbery-winning novel The Giver are many. Both take place in ordered villages in a future after worldwide destruction, and both revolve around children who, given the task of preserving cultural memories, discover the secrets upon which their society is built. Although the first book explored a seemingly perfect high-tech future society, here the society is more medieval, both squalid and savage. As with The Giver, Gathering Blue asks readers to think about what sacrifices they would be willing to make to improve the world around them. In both stories, young people have special talents that not only save them but also burden them with responsibility and challenge them to find a way to make things better. That should make any one of us think.

The story is captivatingly simple yet complex, as are the characters. Some readers may wish for more explanation of a few mysterious events, as well as wish for an ending that seems more final. However, most fans of the earlier book will find this a well-written complement and will catch glimpses of a bigger picture yet to come. They will be yearning to read the next two books in the quartet. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about book series. Do you like reading several books that fit together to tell a bigger story? How does this series compare with others you've read? 


  • How does Gathering Blue fit with The Giver? What similarities do you see between the two books? What differences? 

  • How do you feel about the ending? What do you think author Lois Lowry is trying to say?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate