Messenger, by Lois Lowry, is a sequel to two other books, The Giver and Gathering Blue. These three books were written for young adults, but are enjoyed by all ages. In Messenger, Lowry brings together the characters from her previous books. Matty, a young boy from Gathering Blue, has established himself in a village that allows for free thinking, economical exchange, and acceptance of all. Those that were outcasts from their previous homes are accepted in the village.
Matty learns of a gift that he has. He has the gift of healing. He does not understand it, or know how he is to use it. He accidentally heals a frog. While he is trying to understand his gift, the village turns. A group is petitioning to have the village walls closed to new comers. The petition passes, and Leader, the head of the village is forced to close its walls. Matty is the unofficial messenger for Leader, and is sent to alert the surrounding communities that they have only three weeks to join the village. After that date, the walls will be closed. As Matty prepares to leave, a blind man he is close with begs him to find his daughter. Kira, the blind man’s daughter, was a dear friend of Matty’s from his previous village. Matty agrees to find her. As he prepares for his journey, it becomes apparent to Leader, Matty, and blind man, that the journey will be dangerous. Just before his departure, Matty’s best friend falls ill. Matty is left with a difficult decision. Should he heal his friend, leaving himself without the strength to go on his journey or leave his friend ill, and rescue Kira? He decides he must rescue Kira, because she too has a gift, that may help the village.
Kira can see the future. She does embroidery which at times, shows the future. Kira is waiting for Matty when he arrives. They depart immediately, in order to return before the three week deadline. The road is dangerous, and soon they find themselves unable to continue. Leader, who has the gift of seeing beyond, sees their peril and goes to rescue them. He falls into danger also. With Kira, Matty, his best friend, and the rest of the village all close to destruction, Matty realizes why he was given his gift. He places his hands on the forest floor, and with the last of his strength, heals his friends, and the villagers, who had been his foes.
The villagers all receive a name as the enter adulthood. Matty always hoped his name would be Messenger, but after his death, Leader names him Healer. Obviously, Matty is a type of Jesus Christ. Although Lowry never directly discusses theology, her book is intended to teach the Christian principles of repentance, forgiveness, and the atonement.