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The Giver Movie: A Reader’s Perspective

The_Giver_posterAs a reader, I’m not sure if I went to the movies because I wanted to watch The Giver or because I wanted to hatewatch it.

I did a little of each. I’ll try to explain my reaction to the film, while also leaving out enough information to keep the movie surprising if you’d like to be surprised. That may leave this post incomprehensible until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not sure. You’ll have to let me know. But be forewarned: this post either has spoilers or is impossible to understand.

I think your liking of this film will depend on how passionate you are about the book. I’m not someone who thinks movies have to stick to the book word-for-word; different media require different approaches. But I’m also not someone who likes it when a movie slaps a book title on its poster and does nothing else to base it on the novel. The Giver is somewhere in between, and it’s not really a bad movie so much as a film that suffers from the glut of dystopian movies, TV, and books and designed itself to be attractive to people just catching on to that genre, not people curious to see Lois Lowry’s beloved book come to life.

That’s not to say that readers won’t enjoy this film. The creators did a brilliant job of dealing with the colorless world. The slow transitions and back-and-forth from plain to color and back again, as Jonas learns new colors and as he goes back and forth between the colorful world of the Giver’s home to his own bland dwelling, is just perfect. The set design is spot-on, and the costumes and props are stylized but not too corny. This film has excellent trappings, but it didn’t do much to translate the power of the book to the screen. 

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Congratulations are in Order! The Goodreads Choice Awards

As we count down to the announcements of YALSA’s prestigious Youth Media Awards in January, let’s celebrate one of the populist recognitions of a few of our favorite novels and authors from 2011 with the Goodreads Choice Awards.

The Goodreads Choice Awards is a completely vote-based recognition system, in which members vote during a designated time (last month, as it were) for their favorites in 22 categories:  Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Humor, Nonfiction, History & Biography, Memoir & Autobiography, Food & Cooking, Travel & Outdoors, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction, Middle Grade & Children’s, Picture Books, Graphic Novels & Comics, Poetry, Best Goodreads Author, and Favorite Book of 2011. Covering them all would go a little long, so let’s just touch on the ones in YA territory.

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