Monday, February 05, 2007

Among the Hidden--Margaret Peterson Haddix

Title: Among the Hidden
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Pages: 153 p.
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks (Follettbound)
ISBN: 0329239317

I don't know why I never picked this series up before, but somehow I missed it. My middle school boys recommended it for our Feb. book group and I agreed. I'm glad I did.

Luke is a 12 year old boy who has never been seen in public. He is a third child or a "shadow child"; illegal because of the authoritarian government's population law, he must live his life in hiding. He has always followed the rules carefully and taken his hiding very seriously until one day he sees the face of a child in a house window--a house with a family that already had 2 kids. He becomes obsessed with this face and dares to leave his house and break in to his neighbor's house searching for it. He is rewarded with a young adolescent girl, Jen, who is also a third child but one without fear. She "hides" but she's set up mirrors so she can still look outside and no one can see her. She sets up a secret chat room so she can talk to other shadow children. She is determined that one day she and Luke and all the other thirds will be free. When Jen disappears after attending a rally for shadow children rights, Luke's safety is compromised and he must make a serious decision--to stay in hiding the rest of his life or to accept help from the last place he thought it would come.

This is just the first in a series and readers will definitely want to continue and see what happens to Luke. Although Luke is stuck in his house for most of the story there is enough action and suspense to keep readers entertained. I was outraged at the idea of the government interfering in people's reproductive choices, but some governments already do. Among the Hidden does a good job of raising serious questions about government abuse while remaining a really good story.

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