Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Copyright 1998
Simon & Schuster Young Readers - Dystopian Fiction
153 pages

Luke lives in a world in which third children are forbidden and has thus been forced to spend his entire life hiding. Until the woods next to his family farm were cut down, he was able to occasionally go outside. Now, with a new housing development quickly being built, he can't go outside at all. He's bored and lonely.

Then, one day he spots a face in the window of one of the new homes. Luke has spent time watching all of the houses; he knows the two children are gone. There must be another shadow child living in the home of this "baron". When he meets the shadow child, Jen, Luke is stunned by Jen's fearlessness. She's willing to do anything to bring herself and other children out of the shadows. But, her plan is risky and Luke is afraid. Will he summon the courage to become involved in Jen's dangerous plan? Or, will he remain in hiding all of his life?

Yikes. This book was really, truly horrifying. I couldn't help but think, as I was reading, how difficult it would be to only be able to interact with one's family, never go outdoors, have to hide and be quiet when anyone showed up at the door. I thought the book drew a sharp parallel to life as a Jewish child in Nazi Germany. Luke's family is what really made the book for me. As awful as his life is, even his big brothers have managed to keep the secret until Luke meets Jen; and, each family member willingly spends time with him, playing games, talking, reading.

This is my second book by Haddix and the first in the Shadow Children series. I liked Found much better, but I appreciated the fact that Among the Hidden makes you think about what it would be like not to have the ability to move freely amongst society. On the cover of the book, the Shadow Children series is described as "chilling". Good word choice.

3.5/5 - Solid start to a series, intriguing and thought-provoking. I found it a bit dark and depressing, but I loved the characters and will continue to read on. The ending is not really a cliffhanger so much as it's "to be continued".

Since this book is dystopian, it's book #4 (I think - losing count, here) of the YA Dystopian Challenge.


  1. Oh, I've read this book. I didn't know it was the start of a series though.

  2. Cara,

    It's a big old long series, actually - 6 or 8 books, I think. I've got a boxed set of the first 4, which I tossed into my Amazon cart when I was placing an order and looking for dystopian reads.

  3. I read this a long time ago (pre-book-blogging days) and remember it as a very interesting book.

  4. Have not read this one myself, but I have helped many a school child in the bookstore find it for their summer reading list. Wow, that really would be hard and yes it definitely brings to mind the story of Anne Frank for me.

  5. Loved this series!

  6. Bonnie,

    It's definitely thought-provoking. I've got a boxed set of 4 from this series, so I'll read on, as soon as I can slot the next one in.


    I wonder if that was deliberate, making the boy's life similar to life hiding in Nazi Germany? It sure seems like it. I'm really looking forward to seeing where the author takes this storyline.


    Have you read all of them? I've got the first 4, but I noticed the series goes on to 6 or 8 books. Yikes. I'll read my 4 and then decide if I want to go further. Good to know you enjoyed them!

  7. Anonymous4:21 PM

    ive read all of the books they were really really good...i have no idea what im on im just doing this for a book report at school and i read yalls comments so i just wanted yall to know its a good book


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