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Gathering Blue, written by Lois Lowry, is a story set within the universe of her earlier YA novel, The Giver.

Kira, a girl in an isolated and backwards village, receives an apprenticeship from the village's weaver. This is lucky for her, because she is crippled and would otherwise be left to die. The weaver repairs, maintains, and adds to a pictorial history of the village and the world around it, a job considered highly important. Things get more complicated as Kira's sidekick and friend Matt discovers the existence of a utopian village alluded to in The Giver.

Unlike The Giver, which takes place in a futuristic society, Gathering Blue takes place in a more obviously After the End technologically regressed society.

Character sheet here.


This book provides examples of:

  • After the End: The Ruin, which is explained to be a series of wars, and natural disasters. The book implies that it is not a single event, but a recurring event throughout history.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey: A group of survivors worship a cross recovered from a Christian church. They don't know what Christianity actually was composed of before the apocalypse, but they do know that the cross had some importance.
  • Awesome but Impractical / It Will Never Catch On: The latter trope is subverted when Kira, while in the Council of Edifice's building is exposed to indoor plumbing for the first time. She finds it interesting, but thinks how it is simply just easier to go down to the river to do bathroom activites.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Matt.
  • The Chosen One: Kira, as well as Thomas and Jo.
  • Continuity Nod: A boy looking like Jonas in another community is mentioned to Kira. However, in some copies of The Giver, which have interviews and notes with Lowry, mentioned the reader is allowed to believe or not believe if this book is in the same universe as The Giver.
    • Confirmed in the third book of the series "Messenger", where Jonas is in the village that Matt (called Matty) and Seer live in. He is the Leader of their town. It is also implied he finds a love interest in Kira as well through the story.
  • Crapsack World: Unlike in The Giver, where the crap sack is more subtle, Gathering Blue's community is at a medieval tech level and inhumane to their fellow citizens.
  • Future Imperfect / Shrouded in Myth: The Christian Cross is simply known as "The Worship Object." Information about it has been lost, but the citizens know that it was special to their ancestors, so they bow to it out of sheer respect.
    • Also, the Council of Edifice's building was formerly a church.
  • Kid Hero
  • Meaningful Name: Citizens, when born, have only one syllable in their name, but as they grow older and more established, they gain additional syllables.
    • i.e. Ann --> Anna --> Annabell --> Annabella
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Plucky Girl: Kira.
  • Tagalong Kid: Matt for Kira.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Jamison.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Kira, Matt, and Thomas. Gender-reversed with Kira, Thomas, and Jo.
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