among the hidden by margaret peterson haddix

Anyone who has spent time around middle grade books, whether library or book fairs, has probably seen Haddix books. Margaret Peterson Haddix is a prolific author of MG fiction. Among the Hidden is the first book of hers I have read. I selected it particularly because of its premise: due to severe overpopulation, the government has passed laws that allow couples to have only two children. Disobedience is punished by death. Luke is a third child, a shadow child. He can’t go outside, have friends, or even sit at the table with his family for dinner. It’s not much of a life until he meets another shadow child.

My WIP (work in progress) also has restrictions on child bearing due to overpopulation, like Among the Hidden. I enjoyed Haddix’s first novel in this series and plan to read the rest. They are short books (this one was 153 pages), so for a reading enthusiast like me, it’s almost a short story. 🙂

Theology: Government is God

Among the Hidden is a secular novel. As such, there is no mention of God. Like most dystopian fiction, the government plays the role of God, deciding what’s best for the population. Of course, like any human endeavor, it is prone to corruption by those who crave power.

Rating: PG

The book is clean – no sex, drugs, rock n’ roll. 😉 The PG rating is based purely on the somewhat mature content/premise of the book.

Social Issues:

Based on China’s One Child policy (I assume), Among the Hidden explores government sanctions and the price of disobeying them. Fear of discovery. Children being hidden away because the alternative is death. An underground movement. Conspiracy. Cover ups. Propaganda.

Have you read any other books that have a similar premise? If so, I would like to know!

3 thoughts on “among the hidden by margaret peterson haddix

  1. I can’t remember exactly where but I heard about this series recently. It looked very interesting. But I hadn’t realized it’s an MG level series since the story sounds so serious/potentially dark.

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    1. The protagonist is an 11 year old boy. While there are illusions to violence, there is never violence anywhere in the book. It is suspenseful.

      I just finished reading the second one — 172 pages and started #3 — 156 pages. They’re episodic; one pics up where the others left off. The third one describes some torture. It’s not as bad as what Christ went through, but it’s darker than the first 2 books. Book #2 was more of the same. I don’t know if I will finish the entire series. Probably, and do one review at the end.

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