Young adult author Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel The Giver explores a world where no one feels pain or emotional strife, and a young boy named Jonas is tasked with holding all of the world’s memory prior to this taking place. Lois Lowry Considered by many to be one of the best YA novels of all time and a forerunner of the “young adult dystopian” genre. In addition to numerous awards and honors, The Giver has been banned from libraries and removed from school reading lists, landing it on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books. Since its publication more than 25 years ago, it has sparked a lot of debate. If you’re looking for more books like The Giver after reading this classic, check out these nine recommendations.
Books like The Giver
Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry
Gathering Blue, the second novel in Lois Lowry’s Giver quartet, is a good bet if you enjoyed The Giver.
An orphaned girl who was born with an abnormally large leg is the protagonist of Gathering Blue, set in the same universe as The Giver. For the most part, people with disabilities like Kira are ignored or treated as though they are dead in our society.
Kira uses her ability to embroider to make robes of different colors for a high-ranking member of the society in order to prove her worth and avoid being sent to “The Fields” and left for certain death. Kira and her friends learn the truth about their society, which isn’t the utopia it claims to be, through the bonds of friendship they form with other kids her age.
New York Times bestseller list: Gathering Blue is an excellent choice if you’re looking for books similar to The Giver
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
If you’re looking for books like The Giver, look no further than Suzanne Collins’ 2008 dystopian novel The Hunger Games, another widely acclaimed and critically acclaimed young adult dystopian.
A post-apocalyptic world where the United States of America once stood is depicted through the eyes of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the poor, working-class district of District 12. “Tributes,” aged 12-18, from each of the country’s 12 districts are required to compete in a televised battle royale known as The Hunger Games in an effort to appease the totalitarian government and repent for a rebellion some decades ago.
With inspiration from stories such as The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (check out our list of Greek myth-based books, like Circe and The Song of Achilles!)
If you’re looking for something similar to The Giver, The Hunger Games is a great option.
Make sure to check out our list of similar titles to the Hunger Games and Divergent if you haven’t already!
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Readers looking for books similar to The Giver should check out James Dashner’s 2009 novel The Maze Runner.
After waking up in a mysterious world called The Glade, Thomas, a young man, has no recollection of his previous existence. An ever-shifting labyrinth filled with deadly creatures and ruled by teenagers like Thomas, this world is impenetrable.
The story revolves around a group of children who are trying to figure out how to get out of this strange world they’ve been trapped in. You should read it if you’re looking for more books like The Giver, as well as classics like Lord of the Flies and the like.
Is this your first time reading it? See our list of additional books that are similar to The Maze Runner.
Uglies, by Scott Westerfield
In addition to The Giver, Uglies, a 2005 dystopian novel, is an excellent choice for a young adult novel.
In a world where everyone is born “ugly” and undergoes cosmetic surgery at the age of 16 in order to become “pretty,” this novel is the first of four installments.
Three hundred years from now, society will be based on a beauty-based social hierarchy. Tally Youngblood, a young woman approaching her 16th birthday and looking forward to her cosmetic surgery, is the focus of the novel. She has been referred to as “ugly” prior to this procedure. After learning some new information about the government’s control of its citizens through this operation, she sets out to find a group of rebels in a community of people known as “uglies.”
As a book for teenagers, Uglies focuses on the societal obsession with beauty while also being an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for something similar to The Giver, this is a good option.
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Giver-esque novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, published in 2005, is a great choice for adults.
Following a young girl named Kathy H as she grows up in a rural English boarding school in an unspecified future or alternate universe where most major world diseases have been eradicated and human life expectancy is at an all-time high, the novel Throughout the course of the story, she makes new friends, develops romantic relationships, and experiences typical teenage hardships.
To set the stage for the big reveal of why Kathy and her classmates are inherently “special,” the book is written as if nothing is out of the ordinary, but this sets up questions about the morality of finding a cure for the greater good of society, as well as the toll on a faceless few who are affected.
As a book that asks fundamental questions about what makes any society “great,” Never Let Me Go is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something along the lines of The Giver. In 2010, a film adaptation of the novel was released.
We’ve compiled a list of other books like Never Let Me Go if you’ve already read this one.
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, published in 1965, might be a good choice if you’re an adult looking for books like The Giver.
The Sons of Jacob, a radical religious/political group, has overthrown the United States government in this chilling work of science fiction set a few years in the future. After the overthrow, the United States of America was dismantled and replaced by the theocratic regime known as the Republic of Gilead.
In Gilead, women have lost all of their previous liberties, including the ability to read, work, handle money, and enjoy any other form of personal freedom. Gilead has been organized into a hierarchical society, and each member of that society has a distinct role to play.
Handmaids are women who are enslaved and used to rape and give birth to children for their masters in a time when birth rates and fertility are in decline.
This chilling story, told entirely from Offred’s point of view as a handmaid, is only appropriate for mature readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s original novel of the same name. Although the Hulu series of the same name has garnered most of the attention, The Handmaid’s Tale is an excellent novel to add to your reading list.
If you’ve already read The Handmaid’s Tale, be sure to check out our list of similar books!