Gathering Blue (Giver Quartet) (Giver Quartet, 2)

by Lois Lowry

Paperback, 2013





Clarion Books (2013), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages


Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

256 p.; 8.25 inches

Media reviews

''The Giver'' was an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind book that spoke as much to adults, myself included, as to children. The future world it depicted was rich and seductive and -- frightening thought -- completely plausible. The brute, survivalist world of ''Gathering Blue'' is much less convincing,
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with neither the dimension nor the subtlety of ''The Giver.'' Many of the characters in ''Gathering Blue'' are presented as either good or bad, and lack the complexity of real people.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member riofriotex
Another dystopian novel for ages 10 and up, this one is set in a post-“Ruin” world, where most of the people have regressed to primitive living, and children with physical flaws, like the heroine Kira, are supposed to be left out as babies for “the beasts” to claim. Kira, recently orphaned,
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is about to lose everything she has—including her life--to fellow villagers. Then the community’s leaders, due to her talent in embroidery, choose her to live in the one building, the Council Edifice (which, from its description, appears to have contained a church) that withstood the Ruin. She is to work on mending and adding to the decorations on the ceremonial robe worn by the "Singer" each year when performing the story of the Ruin at the village “Gathering."

In her new home, Kira meets Thomas, the carver a few years older than herself, working on the Singer’s staff, and Jo, the little girl being trained to replace the aging Singer some day. Like the similarly-aged Jonas in Lowry’s Newbery-winning The Giver, Kira, with the help of a rambunctious “tyke” named Matt, discovers the secrets of her society and makes a choice that will change her life, and perhaps those of the villagers.

This book has some messages about the role of artists in society. Lowry creates an interesting culture where the number of syllables in a person’s name increases as s/he ages. The Ruin Song has some telling words (pages 170-172 in the hardbound edition):
Burn, scourged world,
Furious furnace,
Inferno impure-…

Ravaged all,
Bogo tabal
Timore toron
Totoo now gone…

...“I believe it tells the names of lost places.”

… and if you look carefully, you can identify them.

Actress Katherine Borowitz reads the audiobook quietly and calmly, matching the detached tone of the story, showing emotion only when expressing Kira’s thoughts or memories of her mother, or the rough Fen dialect of Matt.

This book is linked to The Giver, but only near the end, and it isn't necessary to have read it before reading Gathering Blue.
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LibraryThing member juniperSun
Rating 4* (would rate it higher if I were younger!)
A most unusual juvenile alternate future story, after the collapse of civilization as we know it, with the young protagonists having to deal with a lot of death and abuse. Hard topics for young adults.
The characterizations are well done. I got a
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kick out of how sassy Matt was. The progression of the plot was well developed, with Kira gradually learning more about the true nature of her society and making choices to act positively.
I've been a weaver & have tried dyeing yarns, so liked this story that included those crafts.
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LibraryThing member Mist_of_the_Moon
This book was an interesting contrast to the previous work, The Giver. The world described in its pages is just as rich, however, and presents a more interesting culture. I felt that the ending was a little rushed.
LibraryThing member drachenbraut23
“Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none”

We are still in the same dystopian world, but get introduced to a different society then the one we met in The Giver.

This time we are shown a community with poverty, injustice, violence and very low tolerance levels, which is
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lead by a council of guardians. According to this community anyone with disabilities, or after injuries is deemed worthless, as they are thought to be unable to contribute effectively to their daily lives.
Here we meet Kira, who was born with a twisted leg. However, this alone would have ment her death sentence if her mother would not have fought for her. Now Kira is in great peril, because her mother died recently of a severe illness. The villagers want her to leave, even if it would mean her death and soon she finds herself on trial with the council of guardians. Kira is lucky, because the council recognised in her a very rare talent which makes her very valuable to them, they rescue her. Kira is from now on housed within the council quarters and assigned a very honoured role within the village. Her work is it to repair the "Singers Robe" something only she can do. We also meet Matt who is Kira's only friend and a street urchin, they both discover very soon that not everything in the village and with the council is as it should be and try to solve the secrets surraunding them.

Again, a very good read. Although, we didn't pick up where we left in the last book we are still in the same world. Maybe not as good as the first one, but still very thought provoking.
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LibraryThing member anboggs
Gathering Blue, a companion novel to Lois Lowry' "The Giver", tells the story of Kira, a crippled orphan growing up in a society that is strictly controlled with very deep, complex secrets. After the death of her mother, Kira believes her life will be over, but she instead removed from her village
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and taken a high council where she is given the task of restoring pictures on a robe worn at ceremony that tells the story of the world's past. Kira's mother, a skilled embroiderer, had taught her daughter this special skill before her death. Kira meets a variety of other artisans in her new life who help her find the strength to find the way to grow a plant to produce the blue dye she needs, as well as follow the future her art determines for her. The dystopian society may be a turn off for some readers, while others will delight in the fantasy of the story. The book would be appropriate for late elementary or early middle school readers who have interest in some of the themes of "The Hunger Games", but are not quite ready for a book of that scale.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Oddly, as the second book in a quartet, it seems to have no connection to the first book, "The Giver." I assume within the last two of the series a connection will become apparent.
"Gathering Blue" lacked mainly through weak characters. Kira didn't stand out as a wonderful protagonist. Not that she
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was a bad character, just rather dull. Of the two villains in the book, one served no purpose other than to set the story in action, but was afterward rarely mentioned and completely irrelevant. The other we only learn to be a villain in the last few pages of the book, and he doesn't make an appearance again after that point. It felt like a short story that dragged on too long. I also found the conclusion highly unsatisfying. "Dystopian future" was the only relevant tag I could think of for this book. It's not about family or friendship, as most middle grade books tend to be, and doesn't really seem to have any point other than showing a dystopian future.
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LibraryThing member ewang109
Lowry, L. (2000). Gathering blue. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

When Kira was born with a twisted leg, members of the village wanted to take her away to the Fields. Her mother and father fought to keep her. Soon after, her father died supposedly while hunting, and her mother died four
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years ago because of an illness. Now as an orphan, Kira has no one to protect her.

Vandara, a strong, fierce woman in the village, wants to banish Kira from the village. She claims that Kira is worthless, because she cannot contribute to the community. Kira cannot dig or plant crops; she is slow; and she eats a lot. They take their case to the Council of Guardians. The Council decides that Kira can stay, but on one condition: she must restore the sacred robe of the Singer. The Singer recounts the history of the community at The Gathering.

Although Kira is allowed to remain in the village because of her new role as an embroiderer, she discovers that her community is a dystopia. Kira then has a choice: Should she stay and try to change the community? Or should she escape to another world that is more humane and compassionate?

Gathering Blue is not a sequel to Lowry’s The Giver, but it makes a nice companion novel. Similar to The Giver, Gathering Blue deals with the theme of the individual versus the community. However, here is my warning: If you read The Giver, you might be somewhat disappointed with Gathering Blue. This book definitely lacks the intensity of The Giver. While there are some suspenseful moments, such as when the Council of Guardians decides Kira’s fate, the plot sometimes unfolds slowly.

Kira’s character though is believable. She is both vulnerable, yet courageous. Kira is fearful when Vandara tries to kick her out of the community. Yet at the same time, she is strong because she fends for herself.

Although Gathering Blue is not The Giver, I still recommend it for a middle school library. The book is interesting and thought provoking. Appropriate for upper elementary to middle school students.
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LibraryThing member Faith_Murri
It was interesting, but didn't hold my attention much, especially compared to The Giver. To be completely honest, it felt like half a book, and the first half only. It was unresolved and, to use a pun in line with the subject matter, had several loose threads.

Besides that, Kira was rather boring as
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a protagonist. Even when she learned horrible things about her world, she remained content to stay and be a part of the system. I loved Matt and Thomas though.
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LibraryThing member saroz
From the start, I have to admit the idea of a "companion novel" to The Giver was not one that naturally appealed. The Giver ends on a beautiful open ending - one of the best I've ever read in a children's or young adult's book - that is either joyous and affirming or a breathtaking gut-punch,
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depending on how literally you choose to take it. (I tend toward the latter - but more on that with Lowry's third book in the series, Messenger.) It seems all too tempting to build a series off of that, and I think it's to Lowry's (initial) credit, at least, that her first attempt at a second book isn't a sequel at all. Instead, it takes many of the same themes and torques them in a different direction, a slightly different "what-if?" world than Jonas' community in the first book. At its heart, this is The Giver all over again but without the character of the Giver - and that's quite an interesting idea.

Now if only it were an interesting book.

There are a couple of absolutely crucial problems with how the book plays out, and the first is that it takes nearly the entire book to hit what should have been the first twist of the knife. Any of us who read The Giver will start Gathering Blue waiting, and watching, to see how Kira's community is similarly rancid, and Lowry's decision to push that "revelation" to the end of the book only makes sense if you assume it's setting up a third novel. That actually isn't the plot of Messenger at all, though - so I'm at a complete loss. It feels like a very odd misreading of the audience's interests and intelligence.

Perhaps, if you came into Gathering Blue absolutely unaware of its predecessor, the development of the plot's surprises wouldn't disappoint. Even then, I can only offer up that this is an intensely passive book, a book that might generously said to be about "the growing confidence of a talented needleworker." While it has moments of interest, this is a sedate book with (mostly) sedately speaking characters. There's a lot of passive voice, and a lot of ritual - and unfortunately, not a lot of fine world-building detail when it comes to the community itself. A reader who sees herself in Kira might get something from the book, but most others will, I think, spend a lot of time waiting for something interesting to happen.

The book might have escaped most criticism if it had functioned as the first act of a longer, three-act novel, and if it hadn't traded so much on the success of The Giver. I like Lowry's further exploration of what might be called "God-given talents" as a sort of very slightly mystical element to these stories; Kira's artistry and Jonas' empathy are only about a step beyond what you or I might feel about our own best abilities. And I'm intrigued to watch someone play out the same framework with different details; satisfying or no, that's a nifty authorial turn. I think it's likely Lowry simply let this one go before it was fully cooked; it feels that way, anyway.
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LibraryThing member elizabethholloway
This companion novel to The Giver describes an altogether different society than that of The Giver but equally intolerant of people who don't meet its criteria. Unlike The Giver where society had at least the pretense of compassion, not so in Gathering Blue. Unless people can work, they are
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worthless. Children are burdens to be punished or locked up. Physical defects are not tolerated. There is no compassion, no show of affection.

As the protagonist Kira returns to her village after mourning the death of her mother, she wonders if she will be allowed to live or dragged to the field to be food for the beasts because she her leg is crippled. She is soon accused and on trial, but the Guardians recognize her unique ability to weave--it's as if a spirit moves her fingers to create miraculous designs. She is moved into the Council Edifice where she is to work on the Singer's Robe, part of an annual scared ritual. There also is Thomas, another orphan who is a gifted woodcutter. Kira and Thomas begin to suspect there is a third orphan as well when they hear a child's cry at night. Kira comes to understand the Guardians can be even more cruel than the society they rule. She also comes to understand a larger role that she and the other artist-orphans must play to transform cruelty into compassion.

This post-apocalyptic society the novel describes is completely believable. The rules that structure the society are consistent and a believable reaction to scarce resources in a harsh environment. The spiritual traits of the Kira and the others are tangibly portrayed and consistent within the framework of the novel.

The characters in this book are well-developed and compelling, particularly Kira. The plot is also compelling. As with The Giver, Lowry places a young child in jeopardy, heightening the tension. The book has a rather open-ended conclusion. Some readers may find this unsatisfying. i found it believable. I would recommend this book to upper elementary and middle school students.
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LibraryThing member Dissidence
This book is nothing like The Giver; in quality and in plot. There's no emotional connection to any of the characters, the 'magical' quality to the small scrap of cloth that Kira owns is irritatingly not explained and equally impossible, and does nothing to cover up the weak writing style. The
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building tension is not created well, and the big reveal is far too obvious. The slight twist near the end was far too convenient and the main opportunity for conflict was completely bypassed in a book supposed to be about being different and starting a revolution. The function of the Singer within the community, or any effect he and the Gathering has upon the community, was not detailed and seemed a rather weak idea to base the whole oppressive society on. Not only does this book have a weak beginning and an even weaker middle, it doesn't actually have an end! If 1984 had trailed off with a weak, "Maybe he'd try and change things..." it would never have been considered a classic. Not only does Kira never truly challenge the society or the Guardians, the book just stops without any actual conclusion or climax. Besides that, there's no real importance to the 'blue' to be gathered except that it's not a common colour, but Kira doesn't even gather the blue! It's as if JK Rowling had written Harry Potter, but from the viewpoint of Dudley. We'd hear that Harry was a wizard and this was important, and then she'd send him off to Hogwarts while our main character is left with no damn story! I wouldn't consider this as a companion to The Giver. It's irritating. Perhaps that's why it ends so abruptly, maybe the author just got fed up. I know the feeling.
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LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This book is the second in the trilogy which also includes The Giver and Messenger. I read The Giver, a Newbery book, earlier this year and absolutely loved it. This book doesn't really continue where The Giver left off, but Messenger takes place after both stories and with characters from
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Kira is a girl who has just lost her mother to sickness. She is very distraught as it has been her mother who has protected her from the community. Kira has a bad leg, and everyone in the village with any kind of defect or deformity must leave the protected area and contend with "the beasts" outside of it.

As she goes back to her small house, the women around her make it known that they want her property as a place for their own children and animals. A legal proceeding takes place which decides the matter. Will she have to leave the community and contend with "the beasts", or will an exception be made?

Recommended highly, but make sure you read The Giver before you read Messenger.
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LibraryThing member allify
Now this is how a book should be written. It drew me in from the start and kept me going up until the end.
LibraryThing member mrsarey
The second in a disturbing trilogy, Gathering Blue takes place in a society that is the opposite of Jonas's world in The Giver. Kira is an outcast and an orphan after her mother dies. When another woman brings her to the Council, wanting her killed, the Council instead chooses her to become the
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Robe-threader of the Future.
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LibraryThing member TakeItOrLeaveIt
a pretty good follow up to the Giver. but nothing could compare...
LibraryThing member Elferkid
This book is about a cripple girl who lives in a society where cripples aren't too lucky. She is saved from dying in the field by Jamison who has her work for him to embroider the robe.

It was mildly amusing. I read it for school. I do not recommend it because it was a bit boring. It was a sow read
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but touching because the main character is put down a lot due to her crippled leg and doesn't even cry!
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LibraryThing member Aerrin99
This book gets a very strong 'meh' from me. For its size and its author, I expected to be able to rip through it in an hour or so. Instead, I found myself putting it down, walking away to read an entire series, and then reluctantly coming back to it. Suffice it to say, it didn't hold my attention.
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I find this world far clumsier and preachy than that of The Giver. Worse, maybe, I find the characters duller and less interesting and the dialect immensely distracting. I admire an author who can create a sense of a society like-but-different through language (the other series I read instead of this one - The Uglies - did that very nicely in fact), but Lowry's just reads as awkward. I actually winced in several places.

Worse, the book never /quite/ seems to figure out what it's doing. Kira's world sucks. She has a gift/ Wouldn't it be great if she could... and then the story grinds to an awkward halt without ever really finishing the sentence.

This felt like a book far too consumed with what it /meant/ and not nearly consumed enough with story. Sadly, I feel like it wasn't all that successful in either case.
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LibraryThing member lunacat
Kira is an orphan, but not only that, a cripple. Her mother has just died and she is on the verge of being taken to the Field of Leaving, as she is no longer any use to the community. Her birth defect of a twisted leg leaves her vulnerable, and with no one to take care of her, her life looks
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However, fate intervenes, for she has a talent. Spared by the Council of Guardians, she is taken and given a place to live, and an incredibly important role. For she is to use her gift for weaving for the community.

As in the first novel, things are not always as they seem, and Kira is forced to re-evalute the world she lives in and the rules of life she has been told.

This didn't have the shock capacity of the previous novel but it is still a very good and interesting storyline that contains enough to make you think and keep you reading.

From page 2:

As for Kira, she had no family, now. Nor any home. The cott she had shared with her mother had been burned. This was always done after sickness. The small structure, the only home Kira had ever known, was gone. She had seen the smoke in the distance as she sat with the body. As she watched the spirit of her mother drift away, she had seen the cindered fragments of her childhood life whirl into the sky as well.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Interesting speculation on what society might look like after cataclysms and having to start over. I don't like that Ms. Lowry keeps ending her books mid-story - I want to know 'what happens next!!'
LibraryThing member Gabrielle821
I read this book, as one of the first required books in jr. high school, and I still love it. In most of the school books I read, the lesson from the book is mostly obvious, but this book was different. I was never able to figure out why we read this book. It is a very obvious fiction book, with a
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story that is hard to imagine ever happening. The originality of the idea for the plot is what really makes the book as amazing as it is. I still have yet to find a book that matches Lowry's creativity.
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LibraryThing member TeresaWoolvett
Lois Lowry writes a haunting story about a futuristic dystopia society where it is survival of the fittest and chaos rules. A small group of men known as the ‘Council of Guardians’ have kept this society struggling to survive gripped in fear with stories of beasts in the surrounding forests, of
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mysterious deaths and a general lack of resources. Kira, the protagonist had never seen running water before and had to be shown how the bath and toilet worked when she was moved into the Council Edifice. Children in this society are viewed as a nuisance and parents take care of themselves first leaving their children to fend for themselves. Lowry invokes readers to examine closely human morals and ethics that are present in today’s society. Readers are compelled to analyze the positives and negatives of human relationships. Lowry teaches us all that at times it is necessary to challenge the decisions of those in authority as things are not always what they seem to be.
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LibraryThing member nomadreader
After I raved about The Giver to people smart enough to have read it years ago, I was thrilled when they told me it was actually the first in a loosely-connected trilogy that includes Gathering Blue and The Messenger.

Gathering Blue is the story of Kira, a lame (as in she was born with a bad leg)
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girl newly orphaned. As in The Giver, the reader discovers the world and community Kira lives in through her eyes. As an orphan, Kira may soon be kicked out of the village. The first few chapters treat the reader to a court hearing of sorts determining if and how she should stay. This world is quite different from the world of The Giver, and dare I say, it's not quite as interesting. Granted, it had a lot to live up to.

Ultimately, Gathering Blue, is good, but it's not great. The novel seemed to divide itself into three parts in my mind: the beginning, where the reader learns the setting; the middle, where the action is rather subdued; and the end, which is once again intriguing, if not riveting as The Giver was.

Perhaps it's not fair to compare Gathering Blue to The Giver. If I didn't know they were related, I wouldn't have spotted the connections between the two. (The connections apparently come in The Messenger, which features characters from both books). It's still an interesting read, and young science fiction fans will likely delight in it. Gathering Blue doesn't have the cross-genre appeal of The Giver, and it doesn't have a powerful enough narrative to intrigue readers of all ages, but upper elementary students would be the ideal audience for it.
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LibraryThing member NoahK
2nd in the Lois Lowry series, Gathering Blue is about a girl named Kira. Kira has a twisted leg and in a world that hates her she finds a purpose.
LibraryThing member ThisYAlibrarian
Gathering Blue is the story of Kira, a young girl orphaned and crippled but she has a magic, the knowledge of weaving engrained into her fingers. After mourning the death of her mother Kira returns to her village to find she is no longer wanted by the people she thought were her friends. Kira is
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brought to the village council to decide her fate. The council knows of the magic she possesses but she is also crippled which law states she should be put out of the village. Kira learns that there are others like her with the knowledge of the arts. What is to become of Kira and the rested of the gifted children? This is an incredible story of friendship and overcoming great adversity despite monumental hardships. Gathering Blue is recommended for readers fifth grade and up.

Lois Lowry is a beloved children’s author and has written many novels such as The Giver, Number the Stars, Messenger and Gossamer.
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LibraryThing member Ziaria
I always say when it comes to audiobooks, the narrators either makes it or breaks it. The Narrator of this book was awesome! She brought the book to life. Add that to a great story and you've got one heck of an enjoyable listening experience. If asked my opinion I would recommend the audio version
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of this book to anyone.

I loved the characters in this book. Kira is such a talented and inquisitive young girl. Thomas another very talented boy. Matt the street boy you can't help but love. All these amazing characters in a world that seems so primitive.
There's Jamison, the man in charge of Kira and Thomas. You want so bad to believe he's a good man but at the same time you can't help but wonder what he's hiding. In a world where babies, old people, disfigured/disabled people are thrown out into the field to die, you have to wonder really what's going on in their world that seems is in and of itself, cut off from anywhere else.

The ending surprised me but I don't want to spoil anything so I will leave it at that.

I've read the Giver by Lois and I was not let down with this book, if anything I'd say this one was even stronger, more powerful of a book.
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½ (2097 ratings; 3.8)
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