If you're wondering what book I'm talking about, that would be The Giver, by Lois Lowry.
It's been five years since I've read this book. I had to read it in my eighth grade Language Arts class, and as I recall, it was the first book I was ever assigned to read, that I actually read ahead. I remember sitting on the couch in the family room, reading the required chapters for homework, and the next thing I knew, I'd read about two or three more chapters than I was supposed to. I shrugged, and continued reading. It sure did give me an edge when we had to predict the ending and I'd finished it already.
So, The Giver. In a future where society has adapted into "Sameness," 11, soon to be 12-year-old Jonas is starting to see things differently. He's worried about what his assignment will be -- his job for the remainder of his life -- and is started to find out he will be the Receiver of Memories. It's an honored job, and it's rare to come by somebody who can take on that assignment. And through it, Jonas learns about a lot of things he, and the rest of his community, have never experienced... such as color, weather, pain, and love...
There are so many reasons why I like this book, and I think the biggest reason is it's simplicity, despite the complex story. There's a lot to the background, but it's never forced on the reader. It's explained as it's needed, as though the reader is living the same life as Jonas. While some facts may come as a surprise, they are revealed as though they shouldn't be.
I love the story. I love the overall idea and how it is done. I love how we can almost sympathize with the oppressing characters, while at the same time root for Jonas. Let me praise Lois Lowry for a job well done, especially when I can read a book a years later and still be shocked and surprised, and tear through the book in two days.