Don’t even think of reading this book unless you’ve read the prequels-The Giver and Gathering Blue, as this sequel puts pieces of the previous stories together. Messenger proved true to Lowry’s style- haunting and emotionally stirring; a read that gets under your skin and raises questions pertaining to injustice and morality.

Messenger rings loud with themes of forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, equality, as well as commitment and sacrifice, though you have to plod along through a weak plot and shaky characterizations. Lowry’s writing is both poetic and descriptive, but Messenger was not as gripping as the Giver* or as unforgettable as Number the Stars. Messenger may have some flaws, but generally true fans of a particular author are forgiving because they’re happy to return to their favorite characters and have conclusions to unanswered questions.

*Note-The Giver, a required read in most schools, is indeed a thought provoking book, but it does contain some very disturbing scenes-one of which involves infantile euthanasia. The Giver is recommended for young adults (13+), yet I frequently see this book in the hands of many kids who may be capable of reading the material, but are not mature enough for the content. I almost gave this book to my 10-year-old last year, but decided against it. I’m so thankful I did-he would have been very troubled by it. Use good judgement on this one. See the link below for more information on The Giver and ideas for lesson plans.

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