"If everything's the same, then there aren't any choices! I want to wake up in the morning and decide things! A blue tunic, or a red one?"
Jonas' world is orderly and safe. Every person's actions are carefully monitored and controlled to ensure the wellbeing of the community.
Jonas has been chosen by his community to be an apprentice to The Giver. As The Receiver, Jonas is to receive from this elderly man all the memories the world has ever contained.
When The Giver lays his hand on Jonas to transfer memories, Jonas is stunned. The apple his friend tosses to him is suddenly red. There used to be something that fluttered softly from the sky, it was cold and stinging, and it was called snow. There were once large, sorrowful animals that roamed the earth and they were called elephants. There was something else beyond comprehension that was called love.
After undergoing a year of these sessions, Jonas plots with The Giver to release all the memories back to all the people and then to flee the community. In the dark of night, Jonas sets off by bicycle into a world that he only knows through others' memories.
If you didn't read this in sixth grade (as my husband did), then you missed out (as I did) and you should read it now.