Among the Hidden

Zoe N. | December 23, 2013 | Review

Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: March 1st 2000
by Simon and Schuster

four-half-stars

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Summary:

Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?

Review:

“No,” Luke said. “She wanted to live free. Not die. Not hide. Live.”

It’s extremely difficult to write something for people of all ages, and still make it have the same overall emotional impact on everyone reading it – regardless of age. Among the Hidden is one of the few middle grade books to accomplish such a feat, and by doing so Margaret Peterson Haddix has solidified her position as a great author in my eyes.

For those who believe that middle grade novels can’t be gruesome and emotion-provoking, Among the Hidden proves to differ. I surprised myself by being choked up by it’s sad ending, which isn’t something that happens to me very often – let alone with middle grade novels. That definitely goes to show what high quality of literature this truly is.

Among the Hidden takes place in a society not unlike our own where there can only be 2 children per family because of how our booming population has wrecked and polluted the Earth. The punishment of having more than two children? Death.

Luke is the third child in his family – a “shadow child.” He has spent his whole life hiding from the government, and he’s tired of it. All he wants is to have a normal life like his brothers. But one day, while he’s hiding, he sees a girl’s face in his neighbor’s window across the street – a house where he knows there are already 2 boys. Can it be that there are others like him? And is it possible that, together, they might be able to rebel?

I think the genius of this book is it’s plausibility. The society Haddix creates is not far-fetched by any means; on the contrary, it’s actually quite realistic, considering the current state of the world, such as the child population laws in countries such as China. You don’t need much of an imagination to see how the world or the government might turn into something similar to the one presented in this book.

Character-wise, Haddix’s are superb. Each character has their own unique motivations and distinct personalities, and you can’t help but enjoy them.

This is one of the most complex and enjoyable middle-grade books I’ve read in a long time – if not ever – that can still be enjoyed by any age group. The next time I deny picking up a middle grade book thinking it will be too simplistic, I’ll think of this wonderful series.

four-half-stars

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