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Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1) Paperback – March 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This futuristic novel focuses on a totalitarian regime and the Internet. PW noted, "The plot development is sometimes implausible and the characterizations a bit brittle, but the unsettling, thought-provoking premise should suffice to keep readers hooked." Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Born third at a time when having more than two children per family is illegal and subject to seizure and punishment by the Population Police, Luke has spent all of his 12 years in hiding. His parents disobeyed once by having him and are determined not to do anything unlawful again. At first the woods around his family's farm are thick enough to conceal him when he plays and works outdoors, but when the government develops some of that land for housing, his world narrows to just the attic. Gazing through an air vent at new homes, he spies a child's face at a window after the family of four has already left for the day. Is it possible that he is not the only hidden child? Answering this question brings Luke greater danger than he has ever faced before, but also greater possibilities for some kind of life outside of the attic. This is a near future of shortages and deprivation where widespread famines have led to a totalitarian government that controls all aspects of its citizens' lives. When the boy secretly ventures outside the attic and meets the girl in the neighboring house, he learns that expressing divergent opinions openly can lead to tragedy. To what extent is he willing to defy the government in order to have a life worth living? As in Haddix's Running Out of Time (S & S, 1995), the loss of free will is the fundamental theme of an exciting and compelling story of one young person defying authority and the odds to make a difference. Readers will be captivated by Luke's predicament and his reactions to it.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Series: Shadow Children (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689824750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689824753
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (793 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up on a farm outside Washington Court House, Ohio. As a kid, I liked to read a lot, and was also involved in 4-H, various bands and choirs (I played flute and piano), church youth group, the school newspaper, and a quiz-bowl type team. I was pretty disastrous as an athlete, although I did run track one year in high school. After graduating from Miami University (of Ohio), I worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a part-time community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois, before my first book was published. I've moved around a lot as an adult, having also lived in Luxembourg (during a college semester abroad) and in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Several years ago, I moved back to Ohio with my husband and kids; we now live in Columbus, Ohio. My husband trains investigative journalists, and my kids are in high school, so there's always a lot going on around our house.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By impossible girl on July 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you want to start reading a good book series, you may want to grab this book. This is the first of several books. In this one, you get all of the background information.

Luke is a third child in a futuristic society, where families are only allowed to have two children. His parents hide him away and he knows a quiet family life, one in which he is made to hide a lot and keep quiet, so that the population police will not know that he exists. It is a lonely life for Luke, who wishes he could go outside and play, like his brothers do, and also go to school, to leave the house and go anywhere.

When the land behind their farm is developed into a neighborhood, Luke is shocked to meet another child like him, Jen. She tells him all about other "shadow children" who live hidden away from the rest of society. When Jen tells him about a big rally that she's organizing to support the hidden children, will Luke risk his life by going to it? Does he trust his new friend with his life? Read this book and you'll find out. It will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat (and you'll want to have the 2nd book in the series, "Among the Impostors" ready and waiting to read when you're done with this one).
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Laurie on January 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Among the Hidden was a great book and an absoulute page turner! I loved the book and was unable to put it down for 2 days. I don't know how to explain the book.With Luke's farm and very few appliences you think you are looking at a hard life from the past but when he meets Jen it is like a whole new world opens for him. Being hidden seems hopeless for Luke until he sees Jen's view. She may not be allowed to be 'FREE' but she still knows a way to make a good life out of captivity. Luke gets a daring chance to make history with Jen, but will he go? Or will he stay at home like a coward, safe, but coward? You have to read the book to find out, but once you do, trust me, you won't regret it. I am now searching for another novel by Haddix, and praying it is as good! :)
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151 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Attorney momma on February 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book today and for the first time am suggesting that prents and teachers think carefully and preread this book before deciding to use it with children younger than 12. The themes are well worth discussing but my 9 year old reads Dickens yet this is inappropriate for her based on content. Among the themes raised by the book are the following:infanticide, mass murder, totalitarian government, subterfuge, and complete isolation . This was recommended as a candidate for a youth book club and will not be used for the suggested age range as the content while worthy of consideration is not appropriate for 9 or 10 year olds unable to comprehend the enormity of the issues raised in the book. Many contemporary educators and librarians fail to look beyond the readability of a text and ask the harder questions about content and age appropriate themes-I urge you to do so before jumping on the bandwagon and sharing this well written yet fairly adult book with those too young to appreciate and understand it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read the book Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The story is about a boy named Luke and a girl named Jen. They had a problem, because there was a very unfair law that a family was only able to have two children. That law was so that country wouldn't run out of food. Jen and Luke were third children. At first Luke could help his father in the back of his dad's farm, because there was a forest. Unfortunately, they knocked down the woods where Luke's house was, so if he went outside he'd be seen and killed. Luke was very upset because the only reason they knocked down the trees was for houses for rich people. Then, one day Luke saw another third child's face and went to her new house! He wanted to meet her! It was Jen!
I could relate to Jen in the story, because sometimes when I'm sick I stay home alone, because my mom and dad both have to go to work. I feel cooped up and I watch T.V, and go on the computer. I also pretend to plan a meal when a lot of my family is going to come over for dinner, and it keeps me busy. I love it when visitors come, but like Jen I don't really know who's coming, so I get scared. I don't get defensive, because there is no way that anybody outside my family can get into my house.
I thought Among the Hidden was exciting, sad, and calm all in one. Books that make me cry are my favorite books, because they're dramatic. This one made me cry. My favorite part of the book is when Jen cuts herself, so Luke isn't found. I think this book is good for people that are ages 10 to 14, because it has some violent and sad issues in it. In conclusion, I'd like to state that I loved this book.
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34 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Hawkins on August 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I won't reiterate the basic plot as plenty of other reviewers have done that very well, so instead I'll comment on the themes in the book and some problems I see with it.
The issue faced by the characters in the book, that of overpopulation and what to do about it, is an important one, and deserves to have a children's book written about it. The possibility that we will one day be limited to two children or fewer per family, and people will undergo forced sterilization, is not so unlikely. China already has strict population control laws (one child) with heavy fines for violators.
However the author simplifies the issue to a simple black and white set of extremes. She fails to fully examine the issue of overpopulation. In the book, the need for population levelling is solely due to food shortages. The characters assert that it's mostly due to mismanagement by the government that the famine happened at all. In fact, everything bad appears to be the fault of the controlling, fascist, yet inept government. Even in the end, the author doesn't appear to grasp the reality of the effect of our population explosion: Food is not the only issue. Others include, "Where will we put all the waste from these people? How will there be enough drinking water? How will we have enough energy to run the machines we need to support our society? Where will resources come from to create things like clothes, furniture, houses, cars? How do we deal with all the pollution this manufacturing brings with that many more people? And how will we survive when we've cut down all the trees and there is no oxygen being produced?
The simple answer given in the book seems to be "we could police ourselves--some people could have more kids if others had fewer".
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Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)
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