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Review: Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

in a sentence or so: living life in the shadows, fearful of a a secret that could ruin the family.  in a world where the government says families can only have two children, Luke is a third child.

living on a farm surrounded by woods has granted Luke more freedom than he would have had elsewhere. as long as he's careful, very careful, he is allowed to be outside on the farm.  the world doesn't know he exists, but at least at home his mom, dad, and brothers Matthew and Mark know who he is. Luke knows he puts a strain on his family. being diligent about keeping him out of site from the neighbors and never letting anything slip is a heavy burden. the burden becomes almost unbearable when the government begins to tear down the woods to put in a new subdivision and Luke must be kept indoors and out of sight at all times.

Luke is desperate for freedom. or even just something to do. while his family is at school or work, he is at home locked up in his attic bedroom. his stir-crazy is reaching desperate levels when one day, as he's peering through the air vent in the attic at the new subdivision for the wealthiest of the wealthy, he sees another face pass by a window of a house where two parents and two kids have already left for the day. he's not alone in being a secret third child.

Luke braves the world outside, putting his own life and that of his family at risk, to try and meet this mystery child. the other hidden child.  whatever Luke may have expected, it certainly wasn't Jen. spunky, snarky, know-it-all, spoiled Jen. she's set on organizing an uprising of the hidden children, and in between telling Luke what's what in the world, she's trying to convince him to join her in her march on the president's lawn.

this is either an alternate reality or a peek into the future of the world we live in.  the government has set a limit on two kiddos due to a food shortage that may or may not be the result of the totalitarian ruler merely exercising control over his people.  since this is the first in a series, there was a lot of background on the government restrictions. let's just say, there are a LOT of things that the government says 'no' to.

this read like a short story for me. the short little chapters kept propelling me along to find out more. we get a good insight into Luke's mind (it's written in third person, but objective and limited so we are very familiar with how Luke sees and feels the world around him and not much else) and how he comprehends, problem solves, and learns. things got real, however, with a dramatic twist and dystopian realism near the end.  the ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, but not enough to have me rushing to get the next in the series asap.

fave quote: "Just my luck, Luke thought. I finally meet another third child, and she's absolutely crazy." (83)

fix er up: Luke was pretty bland. i mean, he was a secret child/momma's boy for his entire life...but i kept wanting more depth or development.  perhaps that comes along later in the series.

title: Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)
author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
genre: dystopian

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. is the twist that the family has a fourth child at the end named.....JOHN?

    naming your kids after the four writers of the gospels seems dumb to me. both as a parental choice and authorial one.


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