The Best of Lois Lowry: 10 Classics from the Reigning Queen of YA

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Okay, so we admit the trailer looks pretty impressive, but while you’re standing in line to see yet another fabulous performance by Her Majesty Meryl Streep, we suggest refreshing your memory on why Lois Lowry’s classic dystopian YA novel became an international bestseller in the first place. Hey, you’re lucky you have memories! With 45 books to her name, it’s hard to pick just one favorite, so we’re bringing you our top 10 Lois Lowry titles instead. Consider your childhood revisited.

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1. The Giver

Imagine writing a dystopian novel, seeing it rocket to cult classic status, winning the Newbery Medal, selling film rights, and then seeing your ideas come to life as a movie… 18 years later. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Lowry talks about making a request to The Giver’s film crew that makes us love her even more: “Please don’t turn this into a teenage romance.” Don’t worry, Ms. Lowry. Your timeless classic can always be read here on its own terms.

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2. Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet #2)

Enter another of Lowry’s futuristic worlds, except in Gathering Blue the dystopian civilization has moved backwards with technology. A simple society with harsh standards where the weak are discarded, the only thing that might save disabled Kira is her expert weaver talents. But can she keep her place in the community—and does she want to?

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3. Messenger (The Giver Quartet #3)

Once humble and compassionate, the Village has become selfish and callous, with plans to construct a wall forbidding anyone to enter—or to leave. Messenger Matty must bring final messages to faraway communities before the wall goes up. Because kids shouldn’t walk through mysterious forests alone, Gabe and Jonas from The Giver and Kira from Gathering Blue are also present in this eerie page-turner that unites all three books.

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4. Son (The Giver Quartet #4)

That’s right! It took two decades, but here you have the conclusion to the whole Giver saga. Finally, we’ll get some answers to the questions about Jonas and Gabe’s fates, as well as meeting a whole new character, Water Claire. But not to worry, in typical Lowry fashion, there still remains some unfinished business at the end.

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5. Gossamer

Where do dreams come from? In this short, whimsical tale, fairy-like creatures gather memories stored in household objects and turn them into either visions or nightmares. The war is on for sleeping humans, including a wise elderly woman and a disturbed 8-year-old foster boy. Lowry’s story will bring light to your sleeping and wakeful states—and make you think twice about what you keep on your nightstand.

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6. Number the Stars

We don’t know any ten-year-old heroines braver than Lowry’s protagonist, who risks her life to save her best friend in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen. Lowry’s never been one to shy away from hard-hitting subject matter, but we think it’s also the sweet story of friendship—highlighting how kids can see beyond differences that adults sometimes can’t—that won this classic a Newbery Medal in 1990.

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7. Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye

You know what else we love about Lois Lowry? Her titles. They’re short and provocative, just like her novels. In this case, the stranger is an adolescent girl’s unknown birth mother, whom she sets out to find upon her high school graduation. While the pre-Internet details make us feel old, we can still relate to these teenage preoccupations with self and family identity. Must be coded into our coming-of-age DNA.

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8. The Willoughbys

Ever noticed how many “old-fashioned” children’s books contain sob stories of abandoned kids? Or a canny nanny? Or a rich benefactor? Lowry’s outrageous parody turns this familiar formula on its head with four bookish children who actually want to become orphans. That’s even more mock-gothic than Lemony Snicket!

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9. The Silent Boy

The title character of Lowry’s early 20th century novel is “touched,” which in today’s world would mean an autism diagnosis. But Jacob possesses such tenderness and knowledge (this kid’s a whiz with animals) that you’ll be rethinking whether differences are always disadvantages. That Lowry gives us such a likable and challenging character without any dialogue on his part just confirms what we’ve long suspected: Lois Lowry is always two steps ahead of the rest.

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10. Looking Back

So you want to be a children’s book author? Get inspired by Lowry’s unconventional memoir, in which she answers the one question she gets asked by fans more than any other: “How do you get your ideas?” Each short chapter opens with a snippet from one of Lowry’s novels, and then deep dives into the way memory and imagination intertwine to create potent fiction. Get reading, and then hop on the YA bandwagon with that idea you’ve been meaning to write down for, well, ever.

It’s National Oyster Day — Win a dozen months of Oyster

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It’s National Oyster Day (really!). Just as oysters are enjoyed best by the dozen (with a squeeze of lemon and drop of mignonette sauce), books should be savored by the thousands.

To celebrate this wonderfully fake holiday, we’re giving away a dozen year-long subscriptions to Oyster.

Share #HappyOysterDay with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and we’ll select 12 of you as winners (and champion gourmands). Please just don’t squeeze lemon on your device.

And, because we love a good bluepoint almost as much as we love a good book, we’re sharing our favorite places to get oysters in New York. Bon appe
tit!

30 Brand New Genres for You to Explore

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and hundreds of thousands of others).

With over half a million great titles on Oyster, we don’t want you to ever feel lost in our library. That’s why we’re making it even easier to find your next favorite book, with 30 brand new genres to browse. Whether you’re a DIY fanatic, a Psychology buff, a Comics superfan, or a Lifestyle aficionado, we’ve got a genre just for you. Get started with our picks below. As your friendly virtual librarians, we promise never to shh you or make you surrender your snacks.

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Surf Oyster Like You Surf the Web

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Introducing the Oyster Web Reader

Picture this: it’s 80°F (no humidity!) and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. You’re at the beach, lounging with your favorite book and enjoying that delicate ocean breeze, and you don’t even have any sand in your shoes. It’s paradise! Somebody get you a piña colada!

See what you just did? You took yourself somewhere far away without even leaving your desk. Now you can do that with Oyster, too. We’re happy to share with you our brand new Web Reader, making it easier than ever to access Oyster’s library (and an endless escape through a world of books) right from your computer.

Let us show you how we made reading books on the web a seamless, fluid experience that’s designed uniquely for your browser.

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Hot Temps & Tempers: 11 Books from our Summer Vibes & Vices Collection

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and hundreds of thousands of others).

If typical beach reads aren’t really your thing, we’ve still got you covered. These summer reads are more spiked than sweet. Indulge in the seedier side of the season with our favorite hot tempered page turners from Stephen King, Hunter S. Thompson, Neil Gaiman, and more. Because with summer vibes are sure to come summer vices.

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Revenge, Madness, Unrequited Love: 14 Books from Our Dark & Stormy Collection

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This is the latest in our regular series featuring some of our favorites on Oyster. And if you’re not on Oyster yet, join today and get a free month to read these books (and hundreds of thousands of others).

Psychosis, codependence, grief. Deviants, tempests, feuding lovers. We think the only thing better than a rum & ginger beer is sipping it while reading a Dark & Stormy book. Added bonus: unlike the rum, we bet you’ll never run out of pages.

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Game of Phones: The Battle of iOS vs. Android

Who reads during the workday? Who reads faster? Who reads fluff? Our latest infographic uncovers what your reading habits say about you.

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Introducing a Brand New Genre: Famous Reading Lists

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How did Oprah become so wise, Bill Gates so successful, and J.K. Rowling so creative? We think the answer is something along the lines of “you are what you read.” That’s why we’ve created a brand new genre for perusing some of the world’s most famous bookshelves. Because even the President, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ellen DeGeneres had to start somewhere—and we like to think they started in the pages of a good book.

We hope you get inspired by the stories that spurred your idols to greatness. Here’s a list of our picks to start you off, but be sure to explore more in Famous Reading Lists.

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Introducing Oyster for Android

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Today, we’re excited to announce that Oyster is available on all Android devices, Kindle Fire, and Nook HD. Oyster for Android has been our number one request since we launched on iOS last year, so we couldn’t be happier to bring it to you. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

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