Luke has never been able to leave his farm because he is a shadow child. The government limits the number of children a family can have to: two. After a series of devastating droughts that led to famine, the government decided that they had to control food production, manufacturing, and the population. Luke and his family live in fear of the Population Police discovering that Luke exists. With a housing development being built next to their farm, Luke is now confined to the house. One day, Luke sees a girl's face in a window where he knows two other children live. He risks meeting with her, and he must decide if he will join her cause to gain equal rights for shadow children.
I think this is an excellent series to introduce a young audience to the dystopian genre. It does not shy away from serious issues, and I am glad it does not. I think it is important for young readers to be exposed to serious thoughts as they are ready to process them. One of the reasons I like this book for young readers is the way it is written. Haddix writes so that different issues will be clearer or mean different things depending on your age. It allows a younger reader to be exposed to serious thoughts without being overwhelmed. It also lets other age groups enjoy the story.
This book is geared towards ages 8-12, and I think the length is perfect for that age group. It is long enough to develop the characters and plot, but not so long this age group would lose interest in the book. It is an interesting book, and what I have read of the rest of the series is good too. I would recommend reading this book.
This was the seventh book the Bookworms read together. I picked this book for us to read. I remember liking this book when I was younger, and I thought they would like it too. The main character is a boy, but there are girl characters as well, and I think it works well for boys and girls. It was great to return to this series. I really enjoyed our discussion of this book. Here are some of the Bookworms thoughts on the book. Warning: there may be spoilers:
Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club
How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Did you like reading Among The Hidden?
Alejandro Yes. It was really good and I want to read it again, but I think there must be a second book because it didn't feel complete.
Paige Yes, I like it.
What was your favorite part?
Paige I can't answer that because I can't pick just one thing.
Alejandro I like it when he found Jen. I also liked the beginning when they explained things. Also the part where they died because they wanted to be free.
Paige When they died was one of your favorite parts?
Alejandro I said I don't like that part because all the kids get shot. Is there a part you didn't like?
Paige When his brother said the Population Police were coming to get him and scared him. That was mean.
Where does the story take place?
Alejandro In a forest.
Paige In a house.
Both In the country, not really sure.
Alejandro it said they were only about 8 hours from the capital so I think it is close to D.C.
Whitney it actually never says where it takes place. What do you think of that?
Paige It is a mystery! I like that because then you can imagine wherever you want it to be.
Alejandro I think that is cool, and a very good idea.
How do you think it would feel to hide all the time?
Paige Really sad. You couldn't see anyone like Luke couldn't see anyone but his mean brothers.
Whitney Why do you think they were so mean to him?
Paige They had a bad attitude because they had to to his chores because he can't go outside.
Whitney Would you feel angry if you had to do your brother's chores all the time?
Paige No. I would feel bad for him because he can't play outside or ride his bike.
Alejandro If I was Luke I would be jealous of my brothers because they could go outside and do things. If I was his brothers, I don't know how I would feel. Probably bad for him sometimes, but jealous because he never had to do chores.
What do you think of Jen's rally?
Alejandro I thought it might be scary because Luke was worried about her getting shot.
Paige I was also worried about her getting shot.
Why do you think she did it?
Paige To stand up for what's right.
Alejandro To stand up and show the government was not correct.
Would you go with her to the rally or stay behind?
Alejandro I would go to the rally. The government is not correct in the book. People deserve to have the choice about having children and how many.
Paige I think I would go to the rally because I would be standing up for what I believe in.
Would you follow the law or break it like Luke and Jen's parents?
Both Break it!
What did you think about the Barons having different rules then everybody else?
Alejandro That is not correct.
Paige That is not fair.
Whitney what would you do about that?
Paige I would go talk to the people in charge. I would speak for what's right.
Alejandro Tell them they can't do that. It isn't right.
Why do you think Jen's father helped Luke?
Alejandro Because he had a third child and didn't want the Population Police to find him.
Paige Because he knew he was Jen's friend and he wanted to do the right thing. He wanted things to change.
Why do you think the government made the Population law?
Alejandro Because they were afraid of running out of food. I thought it was a good point they could grow food indoors.
Paige It costs more to have more kids. I thought they should move food to places where they didn't have it.
Alejandro I would start growing plants indoors. Maybe find a way to grow things on the moon.
Paige How would you get there?
Alejandro I would take a jet to the moon.
Paige I don't think your parents would buy one.
Alejandro I would borrow one from NASA.
Paige I don't think NASA would lend it.
What would you believe, the books from the government or the computer sites of the rebel groups?
Paige I think you should ask a lot of questions of both groups.
Alejandro Hard to say. The computer is not always right.
Would you get a fake I.D. or hide?
Paige Fake I.D. I would want to see what the world actually looks like.
Alejandro Fake I.D. So I could escape.
What do you think about someone donating their child's identity when they died to a shadow child?
Alejandro I think it is nice because they want someone else to have life.
Paige I think it was nice to do that.
Would you read the other books in the series?
Paige I think I will read the next one.
Alejandro Oh yeah! Note: Alejandro has since gotten the next book from the library and started reading it.
Thank you Alejandro and Paige for reading and reviewing this book with me. I look forward to our next book together!