Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2000. 160 pages. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-689-82475-3.
Annotation: Twelve year old Luke Garner lives under a totalitarian regime that limits the number of children in a family to two. Unfortunately, Luke is the third child in family and must deal with the consequences of having to remain hidden in order to survive.
Summary: This book is the first of seven in the Shadow Children Series. It begins with Luke Garner, 12 year old boy who lives in a futuristic dystopia where the totalitarian regime observes a very strict two-children-only policy for families. Luke is, unfortunately, the third child of a poor farming family who has been forced to hide since birth. The government takes the land away from the family farm and builds expensive houses. Among the houses, Luke spots another third child named Jen. As their friendship secretly develops, Luke learns of an entire subculture of third children. Jen organizes a rally protesting the government’s treatment of third children but it ends with the Population Police murdering her. Luke is forced to determine how far he will go to resist the government in order to have a life that is worth living.
Evaluation: Written with suspense, this thought-provoking novel addresses the important issue of what it means to be free. Haddix is able to write a gripping novel with elements of family devotion, friendship, rebellion, and the controlling use of technology. Readers will be thinking about the courage it takes to stand up for what is right in society. Recommended for ages 8-14.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Suspense, Computers, Dystopia, Totalitarianism, Friendship, Family, Identity, Survival
Awards: 1999 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1999 ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, 2000 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2000 ALA Top 10 Quick Pick for Young Adults, 2003 ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adults