The Giver begins in a utopian society where a young boy, Jonas, lives. He is 11 years old, and about to be an adult.
Jonas is about to turn 12. This is the age when it is decided by the elders what job you will be given as an adult. Jonas is undecided, and worried what he will be chosen to do.
The rising action happens during the selection process. The ceremony when each child is moved up to a new year. The 11's are last to be called as they will each be given their jobs. It is here Jonas number is skipped! In a twist of suspense, he is called last to be The Receiver of Memory.
Jonas has been training as the receiver. Because of his position, he is allowed to ask questions that no one else can ask. He also learns about life before the "utopia". When he asks to see his father perform a "release", he realizes what it truly is - murder.
With his new memories, Jonas thinks of a plan to escape with Gabe, a baby his father has been nurturing, and whose life is threatened. Together they escape, running at night, and sleeping by day. Jonas hopes they can escape to 'Elsewhere'.
There is no definitive resolution to The Giver. In the end, Jonas and Gabe experience starvation, cold, and fear. However, they have each other, and a bond of love. The story concludes with the two sledding down the hill that Jonas was given a memory of, together.