Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Seductive (Lowry's words, not ours)
Lois Lowry explains in her Newberry Medal acceptance speech that she tried to "seduce" the reader. No, not that way. What she means is that she wants to draw you in, and in a way ease your guard at the outset of The Giver. Think about it this way: when you first see Jonas's community, it doesn't seem all that bad. Everyone's nice to one another. The family is open and communicative. (OK, we admit, the thought of "sharing feelings" at dinner might make you want to hurl, but once you get past the eye-rolling, a violence-free world doesn't seem like a bad deal.) AND THEN comes the shocker: no freedom, no choice, no sex, no real emotions.