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Among the Hidden is a 1999 young adult novel by Margaret Peterson Haddix concerning a fictional future in which drastic measures have been taken to quell overpopulation. It is the first of seven novels in the Shadow Children series. In 2013 it was one of the ten most taught texts in United States' middle schools.[1]

Among the Hidden
Among the Hidden.jpg
First edition
AuthorMargaret Peterson Haddix
Cover artistCliff Nielsen
CountryUnited States of America
SeriesShadow Children sequence
GenreYoung adult novel
PublisherSimon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication date
March 1, 1998
Media typePrint (hardcover) Print (paperback)
Pages160 pp
LC ClassPZ7.H1164 Am 1998
Followed byAmong the Impostors 

Plot summaryEdit

In a dystopian future, after a shortage of food and overpopulation, families are limited to two children.

Luke Garner, a twelve-year-old boy, lives on a farm with his mother, father, and two brothers, Matthew and Mark. As a third child, Luke and his parents are in violation of a law called the population law. Luke, like all third children, must spend his days hidden or away from public view. When the government starts building houses in the woods behind the Garners' house, Luke is forced to hide inside his house, in total isolation from the outside world.

While Luke is looking out of a vent from the attic, he sees the face of a girl in a window of a house that he knows already has two children. About a month later, he secretly runs over to the house and meets thirteen-year-old Jen Talbot, the daughter of one of the Barons living in the houses behind him and another third child. The barons were incredibly rich people that work for the government and were able to attain special allowances.

Jen and Luke become friends, and she begins to show Luke that what the government has done is wrong. She organizes a rally in support of the third child and asks Luke to come, but Luke refuses, afraid of what might happen. After not hearing from Jen for one month, Luke crawls over to her house, and, forgetting to dismantle the alarm, triggers it. He runs upstairs to find Jen, but finds that she was not there. After trying to locate her, Luke is caught by Jen's father, who is holding a gun.

When Luke explains that he a friend of Jens, Jen's father explains how Jen was murdered, as was everyone at the rally, by the government. The population police come knocking on the door, and Jens dad tells Luke to hide.

After the police leave, Luke tries to scream, but Mr. Talbot covers his mouth. He writes on a piece of paper that the Population Police had placed bugs and are waiting for clues and evidence that can be used against Mr. Talbot and kill him. He then talks to Luke and asks if he wants a fake I.D to live like a normal person. Luke eventually accepts the proposal and receives the fake I.D. Mr. Talbot then meets Luke's parents to inform them of the situation and that Mr. Talbot has arranged for Luke to take the place of a boy named Lee, a boy of a rich family who died in an accident. Luke says goodbye as he is sent off to boarding school.

Awards & ReviewsEdit

The book received mostly positive reviews[2][3] but was criticized for its ending.[2] The book was also awarded as an American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults[4] and is included in Wilson's Middle & Junior High School Core Collection.[citation needed]


Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden.


  1. ^ Shannahan, Timothy (October 2013). "Common Core in the Schools: A First Look at Reading Assignments" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Among the Hidden". Horn Book Guide (Spring 1999).
  3. ^ "Among the Hidden". Kirkus Reviews. 15 Jul 1998.
  4. ^ "Among the Hidden Awards & Grants". ALA. Retrieved 8 June 2018.