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Son by L. Lowry

Lowry, L. Son. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2012. Print.

Fourteen year-old Claire is a Birthmother. It is her role in the Community to grow and deliver a child, never having the opportunity to know anything about her baby. But when something goes wrong at her first delivery, Claire is released from Birthmother duty and is given a new life path. But in all the confusion, she is mistakenly given information that she is not supposed to have: her “product” is a baby boy. She has a son. Claire tries to settle into her new life, but something inside her has changed. She feels different. She feels. She longs for the baby she was not allowed to know.  And when she discovers that her child is no longer living in the Community, she sacrifices everything to find him, to be with him, and to love him.

Son is the concluding novel in The Giver quartet. It starts off in the same Community in which The Giver is set, and follows Claire in her journey to find her son. Along the way, she encounters different communities from her own, full of good and caring people, people who feel, who help her on her journey. But just as she gets close to her final destination, she has to make a choice that will alter her course, and may cause her to lose what she wants most.

With Son, Lowry answers what fans of The Giver have been asking for years - what happened to Jonas and the baby? Son brings in characters, settings and themes from the second and third sequels (Gathering Blue and Messenger), but this is the only other novel to revolve around characters from Jonas’ community. The character and plot development in Son is strong enough to have it be a standalone novel; however, the best reading experience will come from having read the previous novels, or at minimum, The Giver. However, Son touches on themes brought in from Messenger and Gathering Blue that are more abstract and symbolic than those found in the Giver, so the reader must be prepared for some differences.

This novel is a must-read for fans of The Giver and its sequels. Lowry draws you into the characters and their story and has the reader rooting for the best possible outcome. The various themes in Son: love, grief, and good versus evil intertwine to create a riveting novel that is difficult to put down. Son is rich in literary devices and descriptive language; because of this, it would be a good contender as both a read-aloud and as a novel study.  In addition to this, its popular dystopian theme would be attractive to reluctant readers.

Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Joanna Noakes

Joanna Noakes is a grade 4/5 French Immersion teacher in Surrey, B.C. She has always had an interest in reading and books, and hopes to move into a library position in the near future. She is enthused by the prospect of enticing a reluctant reader with a new book, and plans to continue expanding her own reading repertoire to assist her with that task.