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Among the Free (Shadow Children) Paperback – July 24, 2007

Book 7 of 7 in the Shadow Children Series

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Series: Shadow Children (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689857993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689857997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9–This final installment in the set focuses on illegal third-child Luke, who has been working undercover in the Population Police stables with the hope of somehow helping to topple the oppressive regime. After being handpicked for a special chore by government officials, Luke and several other boys are loaded into a van and driven through the gates of headquarters and out into the world. All of the country's citizens are being issued new identification cards and they are told to knock on every door and summon the terrified people to a mandatory assembly. But one woman's steely refusal to comply kick-starts a revolution in which Luke is destined to play a critical role. Haddix's storytelling hums along quickly, if somewhat predictably. She relies a bit too heavily on stock dialogue and caricatures; change the name of the evil empire in command, for instance, and lines like The Population Police will prevail could have been written for any number of government goons in practically any futuristic novel. That said, this is a light, easy read that delivers what it promises. Fans of the series won't be disappointed.–Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Ordered to kill an old woman, Luke--an illegal third child hiding out as a member of the organization he seeks to overthrow--flees, sparking a revolt that carries him back to Population Police headquarters, where he discovers a plot that forces him to make a life-altering choice. As in previous books in the Shadow Children series, Haddix focuses on philosophical issues, creating a bleak futuristic world populated with sketchy characters trotted out largely to demonstrate various opinions or behaviors. Still, there's enough action to keep things from stalling amid Luke's internal struggles, and series fans will be happy that revolution has, after five volumes, finally begun. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

A great ending to this series, but make sure you read the other six books first!
C. Lara
I felt as though the author was at a loss at times as to what exactly she wanted Luke to be doing.
Tamela Mccann
All the Shadow Children books are fun and interesting to read for adults and young readers.
DyAnn Barnes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Calamari on June 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Among the Free takes place quite a while after Among the Enemy and revolves around Luke, the protagonist of the first, second, and fourth books in the series. It takes place in a world where there have been extreme food shortages, so families are only allowed to have two children. Any family who has three children is severely punished, and the Third Child is killed. Due to a series of inadequately explained events, the government is overthrown and it looks as though Luke and the other Third Children might finally be able to come out of hiding. Unfortunately, the new government has other ideas.

Among the Free could have been a good finish to the Shadow Children series. Sadly, the ending is so rushed and implausible, that it spoils the rest of the book. It seems as though the author wrote the first part of the book, and then ran out of time to conclude the book in a satisfying manner. Even the tone of the ending is different; the series is fairly dark, while the ending is the exact opposite. The result is a very strong beginning and middle and a fizzle-out, unsatisfying ending.

Another problem is that many of the main characters' stories are not resolved. If you are not familiar with the series, the third book is about Nina, another Third Child; the fifth book is about Trey, a friend of Luke's who is also a Third Child; and the sixth book is about Luke's brother. References are made to characters from the earlier books, but most of the characters do not come back. However, a lot of the story revolves around Luke having imaginary conversations with Jen, who died in the first book. The author should have spent more time on the characters who were still alive and relevant, rather than the characters who weren't.

The book isn't all bad.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
During this interesting series, the protagionists were a group of third children living under a dictatorship with Chinese-style population laws. You follow about 10 kids through escapes and attacks from the goverment. The novel ends not even mentioning what happens to every one besides Luke Garner, in affect, dropping their characters like a rock. For some unknown reason, a despotism-style goverment ends suddenly when people get fed up with it. No mention is made of what happens to the Population Police's various resources, including: fanitical soldiers, gas, machine guns, tanks, the nation's food supply, a huge military, and a generation of brainwashed citizens. Presumably they all disappered. What then follows is a wad of pages just describing food. I take it no thought was given to what they would do after the all the feasts that effectivily demolish the food supply. If you must finish the series, rent it, but don't waste $17 like I did.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Among the Free should have been the exciting climax to a well-done series about illegal third children fighting the Population Police. Instead, it is rushed and unbelievable, with Luke, our hero from the first few books, still unsure of himself and still being led by the voice of his friend Jen instead of thinking things through for himself.

The story picks up with Luke still working for the Population Police while secretly trying to sabotage the organization. Forced to make a life or death decision, Luke panics and leaves the scene. Ms. Haddix then has Luke on the run, meeting people who are there one second and gone the next without lending anything valuable to the plot. I felt as though the author was at a loss at times as to what exactly she wanted Luke to be doing. When he finally does return to headquarters, he unwittingly stumbles upon yet another plot by the Population Police, but still he wavers on what to do. When he finally does make a decision, the action picks up but it suddenly seems so implausible based on his prior actions that Luke becomes a caricature of himself. The ending itself is very rushed and highly unbelievable, and it would have been nice to have more interaction with the other characters Haddix introduced during the series, as well as having Luke return to his family.

While the book does have its moments, overall this was quite a disappointing ending to a good series. I almost got the impression that Ms. Haddix just wanted the book to be done as the story was padded with scenes and people that just didn't matter. The action parts are what saves this rating from two stars. I hope the author decides to write one more book that covers the recovery process for these characters and does justice to a fine series overall.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This series of books was really good and I am upset to see it end but also happy that it is done. I have read every book in the series and some that were written by this author. I thought that Luke was so brave to get up and help save his people. I really can't say much more of this book, because you need to read it. The book just makes you think about all the people that are like Luke. Not shadow children, but people who have suffered and people who have fought for what they want. I think you will enjoy the ending to this book and to know that these shadow children can now breath a little easier and stop being so scared. (I get a LITTLE rapped up in books. LOL)

A devoted reader,

MAR
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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.

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