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20 Fascinating Books Like “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Exploring Dystopian Worlds: Your Next Reads If You Loved The Giver
by The Blinkist Team | Mar 14 2024

Books Like

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry is a captivating book that portrays a seemingly utopian society where everything from emotion to color is regulated in order to eliminate pain and suffering. However, as young Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory, he discovers the dark truths behind his community’s serene facade.

If you’re fascinated by themes of dystopia, societal control, and the quest for individuality, then you’re likely looking for books with a similar allure. Fear not, for your dystopian reading list is about to get a hefty boost with these hand-picked titles.

The Top 20 Books to Read if You Liked “The Giver”


1. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.

This classic imagines a future where society is hyper-organized by genetic engineering and conditioning, presenting a disturbing vision of a so-called perfect world.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Critique of a society striving for a superficial utopia.
  • Themes of freedom vs. control.
  • The dark side of eliminating human suffering and desire.


2. “1984” by George Orwell.

Orwell’s dystopia of perpetual war, surveillance, and government control mirrors the authoritarian shadows lurking in The Giver’s structured society.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Totalitarian society.
  • The suppression of historical truth and individual thought.
  • The rebellion against societal norms.


3. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.

In a society divided into factions based on virtues, Tris Prior uncovers a conspiracy that threatens her seemingly orderly world.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A society divided into distinct groups.
  • A young protagonist challenging societal boundaries.
  • Themes of conformity vs. individuality.


4. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

Katniss Everdeen’s fight for survival in a televised death match showcases the extremes of authoritarian control and societal entertainment, echoing The Giver’s commentary on human nature and suffering.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A dystopian society with underlying cruelty.
  • A protagonist who becomes a symbol of change.
  • An exploration of sacrifice, survival, and humanity.


5. “Matched” by Ally Condie.

In a society where Officials decide everything, Cassia begins to question the system when she falls for someone other than her matched partner.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • The control over personal relationships.
  • The awakening to the flawed nature of the societal system.
  • A journey towards self-discovery and rebellion.


6. “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld.

In a world where everyone undergoes surgery to become “Pretty” at sixteen, Tally Youngblood uncovers the dark truth behind her society’s obsession with beauty.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Societal standards imposed on individuals.
  • The quest for truth in a controlling regime.
  • The tension between conformity and resistance.


7. “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver.

In a future where love is deemed a disease and everyone receives a cure at eighteen, Lena looks forward to her procedure until she falls in love.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A society where emotions are controlled or eradicated.
  • The power of forbidden love.
  • A protagonist who questions societal norms.


8. “Legend” by Marie Lu.

In a divided society of the Republic and the Colonies, a prodigy and a wanted criminal uncover a sinister government plot.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A dystopian setting with authoritative control.
  • Young protagonists challenging the status quo.
  • Themes of injustice and the fight for freedom.


9. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Children raised to be organ donors slowly learn the reality of their existence, questioning identity, love, and what it means to have a soul.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Ethical questions surrounding a controlled society.
  • The deep exploration of humanity and sacrifice.
  • A melancholic tone with a focus on what it means to truly live.


10. “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.

In a society where books are banned and ‘firemen’ burn any that are found, one fireman begins to question everything he knows.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Suppression of knowledge and individuality.
  • A questioning of societal norms leading to rebellion.
  • Themes of censorship and the importance of memory and history.


11. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner.

Teens trapped in a massive maze with no memory of the outside world must join forces to escape, uncovering disturbing revelations about their reality.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Teens facing extreme societal controls.
  • The quest for truth and freedom.
  • The dark realities of a seemingly structured community.


12. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.

Survivors of a global pandemic navigate a world devoid of civilization, exploring the importance of art, memory, and community.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • The exploration of what remains after societal collapse.
  • Themes of memory and the human experience.
  • A focus on the interconnectedness of individuals and stories


13. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

In a totalitarian theocracy where women are stripped of all rights, one woman’s story of survival and resistance highlights the extremes of patriarchal control.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A dystopian society with strict roles.
  • The defiance against oppressive norms.
  • Themes of power, control, and individual identity.


14. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

A father and son journey through a post-apocalyptic world, exploring themes of survival, love, and the essence of humanity.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A stark, dystopian setting.
  • The bond between family members in a challenging world.
  • Questions of hope and morality in dire circumstances.


15. “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

In a future where humanity lives in a giant silo underground, the truth about the world outside leads to dangerous discoveries.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A contained society with strict rules.
  • Curiosity leading to unsettling truths. 
  • The struggle for knowledge and freedom.


16. “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey.

After alien attacks decimate Earth, survivors struggle to save humanity from both the extraterrestrial threat and themselves.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Young protagonists fighting for survival.
  • The questioning of what makes us human.
  • The degradation of society and its impact on individuals.


17. “Life As We Knew It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Following a catastrophic asteroid hit, a teen documents her family’s struggle to survive in an increasingly desolate world.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A personal perspective on societal breakdown.
  • The strength found in love and family.
  • The challenge of maintaining hope in bleak times.


18. “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau.

The only light in a dark world, Ember’s power supplies are dwindling, and two teens must unearth forgotten secrets to save their city.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • A unique societal setting on the brink of change.
  • Young characters spearheading the quest for truth.
  • The theme of light versus darkness, both literally and metaphorically.


19. “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis.

Aboard a spaceship traveling to a new planet, secrets about the ship’s society begin to unravel, revealing the dark truth about their mission and the price of utopia.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Questions of ethics and control in a closed society.
  • The journey toward uncovering hidden truths.
  • A setting that challenges conventional understandings of freedom and choice.


20. “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman.

In a future where unwanted teens are “unwound” for their body parts, three runaways fight for survival and identity.

Elements in common with The Giver:

  • Societal decisions dictating individuals’ fates.
  • Themes of rebellion and seeking one’s true self.
  • A critique of societal norms and ethical questions.

In conclusion, whether it’s the quest for truth, the struggle against oppressive systems, or the exploration of what it means to be human, these 20 books offer worlds as rich and compelling as “The Giver.” Each story challenges its characters (and readers) to think deeply about society, morality, and the essence of humanity.

So, dive into these pages, and let your journey through dystopian landscapes begin. Happy reading!


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