My fifth grader and I both loved this story. I couldn't wait until bedtime to listen--we listened in the car on errands, while cooking and folding laundry. Many times we paused it to talk about what we thought would happen next. There is so much to think about and talk about.
Essentially, the story is about a dystopian community in the Earth's future. The lives of the people in the community are strictly controlled in every aspect. This makes everyone equal to each other, makes life stress-free, and gives all an important role. The story is told from the point of view of an eleven-year-old boy. When he turns twelve he is given the role of "receiver", or keeper of the community's memories. He gradually realizes what the community has given up in order to create such an ordered, peaceful, and equal society. It becomes too much to bear, and he has to take individual action.