Reviews for Among the Hidden


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
In a society where family size is strictly limited to two children, Luke is a third child. Living in an attic bedroom to avoid being seen by authorities, Luke peers through an outside vent and observes another ""shadow child"" hiding in a nearby home, thereby beginning a secret friendship with Jen, who plans to rebel against the government system. The conclusion is abrupt, but the novel plot is thought-provoking and readable. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1998 July #2
In a chilling and intelligent novel, Haddix (Leaving Fishers, 1997, etc.) envisions a near future where a totalitarian US limits families to only two children. Luke, 12, the third boy in his farming family, has been hidden since birth, mostly in the attic, safe for the time being from the Population Police, who eradicate such ``shadow children.'' Although he is protected, Luke is unhappy in his radical isolation, rereading a few books for entertainment and eating in a stairwell so he won't be seen through the windows. When Luke spies a child's face in the window of a newly constructed home, he realizes that he's found a comrade. Risking discovery, Luke sneaks over to the house and meets Jen, a spirited girl devoted to bringing the shadow children's plight center-stage, through a march on the White House. Luke is afraid to join her and later learns from Jen's father, a mole within the Population Police, that Jen and her compatriots were shot and killed, and that their murder was covered up. Jen's father also gets a fake identity card and a new life for Luke, who finally believes himself capable of acting to change the world. Haddix offers much for discussion here, by presenting a world not too different from America right now. The seizing of farmlands, untenable food regulations, and other scenarios that have come to fruition in these pages will give readers a new appreciation for their own world after a visit to Luke's. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright 1998 Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 August #4
Haddix (Running Out of Time) chillingly imagines a dystopia in this futuristic novel. Born into a totalitarian state that brutally enforces a two-children-only policy, 12-year-old Luke Garner, an "illegal" third child, has spent his entire life hiding from anyone outside his immediate family. His troubles multiply when the government makes his dirt-poor parents sell the woods surrounding their farm in order to build a housing development for "Barons" (the privileged elite), and it therefore becomes too dangerous for Luke to go outside. Next, the Garners are hit with a crippling tax bill and ordered to sell their hogs, so Mom has to get a factory job. Luke spends every day alone, hidden in his attic room, until he meets Jen, a "shadow child" secreted in the Baron house next door. She turns his whole world upside-down, introducing him to her secret Internet chat room and giving him literature analyzing the government's repressive policies. After Jen's foolhardy rally of shadow children ends in bloodshed, Luke is faced with a decision that will irrevocably determine his fate. The plot development is sometimes implausible and the characterizations are a bit brittle, but the unsettling, thought-provoking premise should suffice to keep readers hooked. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 September
Gr 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 School Library Journal Reviews

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VOYA Reviews 1998 October
@1ST PARA TX:Luke is the youngest of three brothers. When his parents married, they dreamed of having four children: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to labor on the family farm. That was before the government enacted the Population Law, which allowedfamilies only two children. Before the penalties became severe, Luke's mother found she was unexpectedly pregnant and decided to keep the baby. Now the family is trapped: the government has purchased the woodlands surrounding the farm and is cuttingdown trees to make room for houses. To keep from being seen, Luke is forced to hide in the attic where he becomes a pale, depressed recluse.@TX:Luke views the outside world through a small attic air vent, and one day detects another "shadow child" in a neighboring house. He breaks into the seemingly deserted home and meets Jen, who acts tough and fearless and introduces Luke to a chatroom of hidden children on the Internet. When Luke and Jen discover a rally planned to protest the Population Law, Jen is determined to attend but Luke is afraid, and stays home. Luke breaks into Jen's house again and learns she was killed in theprotest. Jen's father then offers Luke a fake ID, and this bleak allegorical tale ends with Luke leaving to attend school, then rejoin the outside world. This is an easily understood, younger reader's 1984

or Brave New World

, presenting achilling vision of a possibly not-too-distant future. Haddix's other books include Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey

(Simon & Schuster, 1996/VOYA

December 1996). $MD Debbie Earl. Copyright 1998 Voya Reviews

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