Among the Hidden

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Among the Hidden
Among the Hidden.jpg
Author Margaret Peterson Haddix
Illustrator Saint Joney
Cover artist Cliff Nielsen
Country United States
Language English
Series Shadow Children sequence
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication date
March 1, 1998
Media type Print (Hardcover) Print (Paperback)
Pages 153 pp
ISBN 0-689-81700-2
OCLC 37588395
LC Class PZ7.H1164 Am 1

Among the Hidden is a 1998 young adult novel by Margaret Peterson Haddix concerning a fictional future in which overly drastic measures have been taken to quell overpopulation. It is the first of seven novels in the Shadow Children series.


In a futuristic society the world is controlled by a new government and "The Population Police" who have decreed that no family shall have more than two children. These laws having been brought on supposedly by overpopulation, severe famine and death. Any child being born third or after in a family is a "shadow child" not to be seen by anyone or they will be taken away and killed along with their family and anyone who harbors them.

Luke Garner is a third child. His two older brothers Matthew and Mark go to school and have futures, but Luke must stay hidden, he can never have a job or get married or leave the farm. Luke was allowed to play outside on his family's farm and the woods, until the developers came. New homes are built next to Luke's farm and the woods are torn down, now he is no longer allowed outside, no longer allowed to eat dinner with his family in case he might be seen. Luke is miserable, he thinks he is the only third child.Until one day he sees a face in a window, a window of a home that already has two children. Luke has found another third child and one day he dares to meet her.

The other third child is Jen and her father works for the Population Police as a spy trying to overthrow the corrupt government. Jen introduces Luke to things he's never experienced, television, computers and junk food, things only the rich and government officials are allowed to have. Jen is planning a rally of third children who will march in front of the country's leader demanding their right to exist in freedom. Luke and Jen get into a fight because Luke does not want to go to the rally, but they make up before Jen leaves.

Luke feels terrible for not going with Jen to the rally. He waits anxiously at home for word of what has happened, but a week passes and there is nothing so Luke sneaks back to Jen's home to look for her, unaware that the security system brings Jen's father rushing home, that's when Luke learns than Jen has been shot dead on the steps of the president's home along with every other third child who attended the rally. Jen's father Mr. Talbot warns Luke that he is in danger because he logged on to the third child chat room Jen had set up and that the Population Police are on the way there right now and quickly hides Luke when the other officers show up at his home. Mr. Talbot tells Luke that he will supply Luke with a fake ID card so that the government believes he is someone else, someone with the right to live. The story ends with Luke dressed in new clothes riding in a car with his new identity as Lee Grant the son of barons heading off to his new life. This leads us into the second novel in the series "Among the Impostors" where Luke is sent to a school far away with his new fake identity.


  • Luke Garner – the protagonist of the novel. Luke is a third child, or shadow child, in a country where couples are only allowed to have two children. Luke is twelve years old, and has recently realized that he is unable to live like his brothers. Luke's parents have been very careful about raising him away from the public eye, and as a result, Luke is rather scared and nervous. He wants to be like his brothers and be able to go outside.
  • Edna Garner – Luke's mother, she's sensitive and loving and tends to baby Luke, because he has so much less freedom than his brothers, she wants only safety for her son and the ability for him to live his life, no matter what.
  • Harland Garner – Luke's father is a farmer who works hard every day to make ends meet with the terrible government taxes. He's stern and expects his orders to be followed, and can seen hard though he acts mostly out of fear for his family's safety and welfare.
  • Matthew Garner – Luke's fifteen-year-old oldest brother.
  • Mark Garner – Luke's fourteen-year-old older brother.
  • Jen Rose Talbot – Jen Rose Talbot, was the third child (Shadow Child) born to a family of barons (rich people). She started a chat room in which other third, or even fourth children, could log in to discuss a plan to free all Shadow Children.
  • Mr. Talbot – Jen's father


Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden