Haddix, Margaret Peterson. 1998. AMONG THE HIDDEN.
Among the Hidden is the first in a seven book science fiction series entitled the Shadow Children. Luke is a third child. That alone sets him apart. Makes his very existence a threat to the status quo. In a world where the Population Police have not only ruled that each family is only allowed two children...but where they enforce the law with deadly force, Luke’s existence puts his whole family at risk. Before his twelfth birthday party, Luke’s life was restricted but not unbearable. For a child who’s never known the joy of going shopping, going to school, having friends outside his immediate family, he cannot miss these things. But when his family’s farm’s neighboring land (woods, farmlands, etc) becomes prime real estate development...then his world does change. Suddenly, he’s not allowed outside even in the backyard. No longer can he run and play in the yard. To help in the garden. He can’t even be allowed near any windows--whether the blinds are drawn or not--for fear someone might see his shadow. Restricted almost exclusively to the attic, Luke’s life seems one of lonely despair. But when he sees another face in the window of a neighbor’s house--one who shouldn't be there because she has two older brothers--he begins to realize that he might not be alone after all. He then has to weigh the risks. Is it worth finding a friend if it jeopardizes his life in hiding? What if he’s caught? What if they’re both caught? Is it better to be safe and hidden? Or is there another way to live--a better way to live?
Review by Becky Laney, frequent contributor.
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