Book Review // The Giver, Four: A Divergent Collection, Between Shades of Grey

Friday, February 6, 2015

In an effort to share my thoughts on all the books I read, I'm starting a series! I know full-length reviews are typically ignored (and to be honest, I sometimes don't have a lot to say about certain books) so this is a happy medium :)

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Book 1 in the Giver Quartet

Publication Date: January 24, 2006 (first published in 1993)
Publisher: Ember (Random House)
Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
I made plans to read this book back in March 2014 before the movie came out, but I pushed it aside due to my disinterest. For some strange reason, I recently really wanted to watch the movie (but refused to before I had a chance to read the book) so I decided to sit myself down and just get through it. I was very fascinated with the society from the beginning and I kept wanting to read on, but the ending was a bit anticlimactic. I wish it could've been a bit longer but other than that, I liked it. If you've read Gathering Blue, how is it? I'm still unsure if I want to continue with the series.

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins)
Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of abnegation's faction leader did the same. Tobias's transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened "Four," he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future--and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.
After being away from the Divergent world for a while, I was excited to experience some new (and familiar) events from Four's perspective. I loved being able to see how he reasons and how he interacts with those in Dauntless before he befriends them. Although The Traitor (the last novella in this bind-up) overlaps with pieces of Divergent, I didn't mind. If you love Four as much as I do, you will appreciate this book :)

"You're the one who has to live with your choice," she says. "Everyone else will get over it, move on, no matter what you decide. But you never will." (p. 5)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Publication Date: April 3, 2012 (first published in 2011)
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Books USA)
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
I finished this a couple of days ago and I'm still torn on how I should rate this. The entire story moved at a slow pace, but it needed to be that way to show growth and perseverance in all the characters. It felt a bit like reading diary entries (which I typically don't enjoy reading) and the way it was written made for a quick read. I've personally never known about the genocide of Baltic people (it often gets overshadowed by Hitler and the Holocaust, as Sepetys states in her Author's Note) so I am very thankful that I came across this book. Although it was a painful reality, I think everyone would benefit from reading Between Shades of Gray. I wish I read it in middle or high school.

If you've read any of these three books, how did you feel about them?


  1. I read The Giver a long time ago but barely remember anything about it. I think I should give it a re-read, especially since it is such a well-regarded book. I wonder if you will like the film - I've read mostly negative thoughts on it.

    I did want to read Four once upon a time, but after finishing the trilogy, I never did get around to it. I don't know if I will though, since I was so disappointed by the last book. But maybe someday!

  2. The movie turned out alright — they changed a couple of things to make it flow better, but I don't think I like the way they changed it :/ If you're not in love with Four (the person), I think you'll be okay with skipping it!