A seemingly simple novel set in a time where children aren't cherished and women aren't allowed to read. We meet Kira, whose mother has just died and she is observing the end of her 4 day sitting period with the body. Kira, who was born with a deformed leg, returns to the village where she finds that Vandara, the village bully, has decided to appropriate her tiny section of land to put up a pen to enclose the tykes and chickens. She and Vandara are sent before the council, where the wise, three and four syllable named men will hear and decide on her future's fate within the community.
It is soon decided that Kira will be allowed to stay, and to her surprise, she is moved into the Council's housing where she learns that she is to be the responsible for repairing & restoring the Singer's Robe, the embroidered garment that chronicles the Village's history. She also meets Thomas, a gifted wood carver, who is responsible for restoring the Singer's Staff. The staff has intricate designs up and down its length that help the Singer mark his/her place in the song sung each year at the Gathering. The community gathers once every year and listens to the history of their people sung to them by the Singer, the song is incredibly detailed and takes several hours to fully complete.
As weeks go by Kira begins to realize things are not as benign as they seem, that she, Thomas, and a tyke named Jo are actually being held prisoners for each of their unique talents by the councilmen who are determined to mold the future the way they want it to be.
I found this to be a quick, easy read that kept my interest throughout. Lowry has a gift for world building and for writing characters that you can easily relate to. I definitely recommend this for YA fans.