I haven’t started Son yet, but I’ve read the first three.
Giver tells the story of Jonas, who lives in a dystopian future:
a futuristic society that has eliminated all pain, fear, war, and hatred. There is no prejudice, since everyone looks and acts basically the same, and there is very little competition. Everyone is unfailingly polite. The society has also eliminated choice: at age twelve every member of the community is assigned a job based on his or her abilities and interests.
To be their job for life. Jonas seemingly gets passed over during the sorting process however (no hat involved), but soon discovers that he’s to be given to the Giver to learn all he knows. It turns out the Giver can see memories of all the past givers (and then some) and transfers them to Jonas to help him learn the history his his people and a lot of other things, including glimpses into the future. Jonas turns out to be a gifted Giver, also, and can transfer these ideas to a toddler baby that his family has taken in while waiting to find out if another family will have room for the child. When Jonas finds out that his father plans to euthanize the toddler instead, Jonas runs away with him.
Which brings us to Gathering Blue, which doesn’t reference the first book at all but is still linked to it. In this one, Kyra has a bad leg but a gift for embroidery and is tasked with the job of fixing and adding to a beautifully embroidered robe that tells the history and future of her people, through a Singer who’ll wear it. A young friend of hers, Matt, finds out that she’d love to learn the secret of blue dye and knows where to find the plants that can create it. He brings both the blue cloth and her father home, a man she’d long thought was dead. Her father can’t stay, though, and she can’t go back to Village with him because she needs to use her embroidery gift to improve the future of her people.
Which brings us to Messenger, which I just finished. Matt has grown, now called Matty, and living with Kyra’s father, a blind man just known as Seer because he’s good as seeing more than what his eyes could have anyway. Leader appears to be the young toddler boy from the first book, as an indication that time has passed. Village had been a warm and welcoming place for so long but these days the people are less kind and willing to let newcomers in. Matt discovers he has a healing touch, which comes in handy later as he’s helping Kyra come live there with her father before the villagers block the village completely to newcomers. No spoilers as to how that goes.
And then Son, which I’ll have to report back on, as I haven’t started it yet so maybe things will get tied together a little more neatly.
It’s not all young adult books but I’ve noticed with some of them that they’re big on ideas but short on explanation and so far there’s no explanation given for why there are people with these amazing gifts and talents and what it is that makes it possible and how they can find each other over such distances. At least Star Wars has the Force and Harry Potter has the wizarding world of Hogwarts and the Hunger Games has a political system created to keep people downtrodden but hopeful.
I much prefer the Chrysalids in terms of an entire story getting told. We took the book in grade 8 in 1988 and it’s been a favourite of mine ever since. In John Wyndham’s book, also a dystopia, some of the kids have the ability to read minds, some of them at great distance, and soon realize that their weird religious society would kill them/banish them as mutants if they’re found out so they plan their escape. The youngest is the strongest and manages to reach out to people across the world in Sealand who put together a rescue mission. Again, low on details on the Sealand side of things, but since we just have to know they’re on their way, we don’t need much else. Also, we’ve seen the prophetic dreams of David who’s been dreaming of the wondrous place for years. We know it’s awesome.
I recall we had to write a conclusion/an extra chapter or two as a book project. I have dim recollections of writing 8 long chapters, but didn’t save any of it for posterity, alas. I sure loved writing as a kid. Don’t know why it didn’t grow into a career.
I thought someone later did a sequel to the book, but can’t recall more detail, nor find reference online. Perhaps I imagined it.