When the government has outlawed having more than two children, growing up as a secret, third child is difficult. You can’t go to school. You’re not allowed to have any friends. Even your grandparents don’t know you exist. In order to stay alive, you must forever be Among the Hidden.

Discover the thought provoking world in the first book in the Shadow Children series. It’s a riveting read that will keep you glued from cover to cover.

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Hidden

Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Age Range: 8 – 12

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Series: Shadow Children (book 1)

Paperback: 153 pages

Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook


Twelve year old Luke was the third child born in the family. He was lucky that his family lived in the country. While he was never allowed to go anywhere or have any friends to come over, at least he was allowed to play in the woods near his house. Always jealous of the stories of school and friends from his two older brothers, he still had the opportunity to walk in the grass and breath fresh air.

Then everything changed when the government forced his parents to sell the land next to their house. Soon the trees were being torn down to make way for a row of new houses. Now Luke was confined to the attic. Dinners were spent on the stairway, watching his family enjoy sitting at the table. He was only allowed in the main part of the house if all the shades were drawn. Poor Luke was not even allowed to look out a window in case someone happen to see him and report the family to the population police.

As the new routine of restrictions settled in, the houses were finished and new neighbors moved in. His new hobby became watching the comings and goings of the neighborhood through a vent. He secretly hoped that a family with only one kid moved nearby so he could go live with them and pretend to be their second child. Just as his captivity was on the verge of driving him crazy, he noticed something unusual. Luke caught a glimpse of a face of a girl in a house where two boys already lived. In that moment, he knew that he was not alone.

The rules and his parents dictated that he remain a secret. But this was his one opportunity to have a friend. A real friend. It was the most dangerous thing in the world to do, but he had to make contact. Soon, Luke discovers the joy of friendship and the agony of loss. And how learns dangerous the world really is.

I loved getting to know each of the characters struggling to survive in this dystopian world. As a parent myself, I sympathize with the fears and actions of Luke’s mother and father. But the story brought me back to childhood and I remembered what it was like to be twelve again.

This amazing book is an absolute must read for all young readers. I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.