This is the second book in the Giver series. After reading The Giver, I read a short interview with the author, Lois Lowry. She explained that The Giver was a futuristic world, dependent on technology and advancement, while Gathering Blue is a world devoid of technology. In some ways, The Giver is a utopian novel, while Gathering Blue is dystopian.
Our proganonist is Kira, at the time of the novel's opening, she is sitting and watching her mother's lifeless body give up it's spirit. After four days of watching, she leaves the body to travel back to her cot (which I assume is like a teepee). She finds that the cot was burnt to the ground.
Kira is not well liked by the village, due to a birth defect which causes her to limp. Her mother, Katrina, had begged the elders of her community to allow Kira to live after her birth. Kira's father was killed before she was born by "beasts". The women of Kira's village want her land for themselves and they take her to the Elder's to ask that they let her go in the wilderness. However, Kira has an artistic gift which the Elder's want to use. They grant her leave to stay with the community but she will move into the large government building and she will use her gift for their needs. In the government building, Kira meets a boy named Thomas who was brought to the building under similar circumstances.
Similar to The Giver, Kira's mind is opening while performing her work for the community and she begins to question things that in the past have been understand as simply being so.
The next installment of the Giver series is Messenger, which seems to follow Matt, a friend of Kira's. The Giver and Gathering Blue do not overlap, so a continuation in the tale will be interesting.