It begins in a world, or as it is mentioned in the book, a "community" of people who live perfect lifestyles without colour, pain, sorrow, love, lies and rudeness. It starts with a boy called Jonas who is 11-12 years old. They are ranked for their age, so Jonas was classified as an Eleven, he is about to have his years ceremony for the end of that year, meaning, his job is chosen, not by him, but by others.
In this world, you do not choose your life, it is chosen for you, your spouse is chosen to who you match and your children are also chosen for you. At the Twelve ceremony Jonas' name was not called out, everyone was startled, but at the end the elder calls Jonas up. The elder makes the announcement that he is to be the new reciever, a great honour which is very rare. Jonas is given a folder with puzzling instructions which he never thought he would need, most of them things like "you may ask anyone, anything", and "you may lie". So the next day Jonas comes to training, not knowing what the Reciever actually does, he finds an old man, the previous Receiver. Jonas asks, "what do I call you?" he replies "call me the Giver".
But together the new Receiver (Jonas) and the Giver try to stop the perfect ways of the community and bring back love, colour and emotions to the world. It is an addictive and rather easy read. Great for all ages.