This series of seven books by Margaret Peterson Haddix is about a dystopian country which suffers food shortages due to a drought and the effects of the government's attempts to control resources as a way to solidify its power. The Population Police enforce the government's Population Law, killing or imprisoning "shadow children"—any third child in a family.
Luke Garner, a shadow child, lives his life hidden from the outside world for fear of the Population Police. One day, he notices one of his new neighbors also has a shadow child and he ends up surreptitiously meeting Jen Talbot. Jen lives a privileged life as the third child of a Baron, one of the social elite. Educated and dedicated, she intends to organize a rally of all the shadow children in the country, to be staged outside of the president's house, to prove to the world that what the government is enforcing is wrong. Luke reluctantly refuses and stays home, realizing weeks later that Jen has not returned. After being caught sneaking into Jen's house by her father, a member of the Population Police, he discovers that Jen and the other 40 children at the rally were shot and killed by the population police. Mr. Talbot, hoping to help Luke, gives him a fake ID and sends him to a private school to help him live free and some day find freedom for the rest of the shadow children.
Luke struggles to adjust to his new life, fearful that he will be caught and declared an impostor. He gradually discovers he is not the only third child at the school and finds new friends. He also secretly finds that one of them is a spy for the Population Police. The spy is caught and arrested under the pretense of being a third child, and Luke discovers that almost every student in the school is a third child.
Luke is not alone in the dangerous world he now lives in. Trey, Percy, Matthias, and Alia, also third children, join his battle. They are forced to deal with betrayal, courage, and the true faces of the enemy. Together, they go through many extraordinary challenges to try and overthrow the hated government, but along the way they discover something more amazing than ever before.
- Among the Hidden
- Among the Impostors
- Among the Betrayed
- Among the Barons
- Among the Brave
- Among the Enemy
- Among the Free
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