It was the first thing Jonas noticed as he looked at the newchild peering up curiously from the basket. The pale eyes.Jonas lives in a future society where all roles are assigned to each citizen for life at the age of twelve; parenting is sort of communal; thought and speech are rigidly controlled; and the dirty secret is euthanasia of the elderly, disabled and misfits. It's quite a short book, in the course of which Jonas allies with a wise old man whose role is to experience and retain painful memories so that the rest of the people won't be bothered; and eventually our hero escapes - but to what?
Somehow this got onto my wishlist (on a recs list backed by geekette) and I got it for myself with a Christmas book token. It scores very highly on the Goodreads/LibraryThing stats, which suggests that it's a course book for a lot of American schools. I am not sure that I rate it all that highly myself. I don't really see what Lowry is pushing back against, unless it's the general idea of conformity and sameness and a defence of individuality. Living as I do in a country with a relatively liberal euthanasia law, I think that subject can also be treated with more nuance than it gets here. Still, what do I know? It won the Newbery Medal. You can get it here.
This was my top unread sf book, and my top unread book by a woman. Next on both lists is The Tiger's Wife, by Tea Olbreht.