Lois Lowry (2000)
I believe this is a "companion" to The Giver, but it's not technically a sequel; there's another book that somewhat ties the two together... futuristic dystopian society, very primitive, cold hearted in its treatment of the ill and children, unless you have artistic abilities, then you get indoor plumbing! There's a clear sense (the theme?) that basically without art, we rot. The "Gathering" scenes remind me of long and boring, especially for children, holiday church services, where the tradition and the message is irrelevant and un-spiritual. With Lowry the ending isn't always an ending -- should she stay or go? -- but this one satisfied me (not that I don't want to read more)... Very well done; I'm starting to rank Ms. Lowry higher and higher on my list of best authors around...
connections: artists and culture in society, disabilities, ethical dilemmas, Shayamalan's "The Village"