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Genre: Children

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8. This fifth book about third-born children who must go into hiding to avoid elimination picks up where S & S, 2003) ended. The ruthless head of the Population Police has taken over the government, and executions are common. Trey has gone to Mr. Talbot's home seeking help to rescue Luke and his other third-born friends just as the man is taken away in handcuffs. Desperate, he teams up with Luke's older, more reckless brother, Mark, to try to find the others. Mark is caught and Trey enlists in the Population Police, his only hope of freeing him. To escape, the boys make a deal with a resistance member disguised as a guard to rescue a prisoner from another torture camp. The prisoner turns out to be none other than Mr. Talbot, who headed the resistance movement. Mark and Trey are able to rescue their friends, but are unable to help the guard who helped them. The adults are ready to give up but the third-born children vow to keep up the fight. Even though elements of the plot seem timeworn and not all of it is plausible, this book provides a fast and wild ride that will appeal to reluctant readers. Once again, Haddix makes real how hard ordinary and not-so-ordinary actions would be for kids who've spent most of their lives hidden away. Although this installment could be read on its own, this series works best when read in sequence.

— Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4–7. Like its predecessors in the Shadow Children series, this novel concerns children hidden from society because their families have exceeded the strictly enforced, two-child limit. Trey struggles to survive during a dangerous political shift, as the most repressive faction of the government seizes power. On a personal level, Trey feels intense fear and increasing mistrust as he tries to maneuver in a world where he often cannot tell friend from foe. Haddix writes a compelling story, full of intrigue, danger, and adventure. The level of tension barely lets up, ensuring that "can't-put-it-down" headlong impulse to keep reading. Still, the constant tension gives individual scenes less impact than they might have had in a book with more contrast. Trey makes an interesting, sympathetic protagonist, reflective about his past, convincing in his outlook, and fundamentally alone even among his allies. 

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Genre: Children

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7–A continuation of the series in which third-born children must stay in hiding in order to escape certain death at the hands of the Population Police. Many characters return, including Mr. Talbot and Nina, and some of the plot elements of previous books reappear. While there is little character development, the book is fast paced, opening with a raid on the Niedler School that forces Matthias, Percy, and Alia to run for their lives. The two younger children are injured and Matthias inadvertently becomes a member of the Population Police. Issues of trust and loyalty will appeal to readers as will the twists and turns of the action. This book also contains many references to faith in God and the need to believe. The protagonist often finds solace and strength in thinking of the advice given to him by his surrogate father, Samuel, a man of great faith. This one is strictly for fans of the previous books. 

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5–8. Each title in the Shadow Children series reveals a different aspect of a dystopian future in which illegal "third children" are hunted by ruthless Population Police. In the sixth installment, Haddix zooms in on Matthias, the eldest of the three friends Nina allied with in (2001). While seeking help for Alia and Percy, both gravely injured during their escape from the latest Population Police raid, Matthias impulsively saves the life of an officer and must then pose as an aspiring recruit. Suddenly Matthias is hailed as a hero and whisked into the heart of police headquarters, where he finds unexpected camaraderie with his former archenemies and must contend with feelings of confusion, guilt, and grief as he uses his position to aid undercover rebels. The top-level authorities' instantaneous embrace of Matthias may bother some readers, but the brisk, efficient pacing facilitated by occasionally abrupt plot turns is precisely what has cemented Haddix's strong following among both avid and reluctant readers. Series fans and newcomers alike will devour this whole. 

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Genre: Children

*"Enough games," the man said, raising the gun yet again. "And enough of the Population Police, I say."

This time he cocked the gun and aimed carefully.*

This is real,  This is really going to happen.

"No, don't!" he screamed.

Luke Garner is a third-born in a restrictive society that allows only two children per family. Risking his life, he came out of hiding to fight against the Population Police laws. Now, in the final volume of Margaret Peterson Haddix's suspenseful Shadow Children series, Luke inadvertently sets off a rebellion that results in the overthrow of the government. The people are finally free. But who is in charge now? And will this new freedom be everything they had hoped?

With all of the plot twists and excitement Haddix's fans have come to expect, brings the Shadow Children sequence to a chilling conclusion.

Genre: Children

Grade 5-8-In this fourth installment of a series about a society that allows only two children per family, Luke Garner is finally adjusting to his new life at Hendricks School as Lee Grant. While the Grants belong to the highest class of society called the Barons, Luke avoids snobbish affectations and befriends his classmates, who are also illegal thirds. When the real Lee Grant's younger brother arrives at the school, along with his fierce body guard, Luke worries that Smits will expose him to the government. However, Smits has come to enlist Luke's help in discovering how his older brother really died, suspecting that he was murdered. The intrigue and danger grow more acute when both boys are called "home" and Luke discovers that the Grants have plans for him that could turn out to be fatal. As in the previous books, characters who seem honest turn out to be dangerous while others who seem suspicious end up as allies. The climax hints at a further installment. Fans of the series are the most likely audience for this story of Luke's continuing struggle to survive.

©Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA

From Booklist

Gr. 5–8. This exciting fourth installment in the series that began with  (1998) focuses on "shadow child" Luke Garner, a third child in a futuristic society that allows families only two children. Luke, who has gone underground to escape the Population Police, reemerges after 12 years in hiding to assume the identity of Lee Grant, a member of the society's most privileged class, and is sent off to boarding school. The impersonation goes smoothly until Smits, Grant's younger brother, enters the picture. Luckily, Luke, who lives in constant fear that grieving Smits will turn him over to the Population Police, eventually manages to elude the authorities, which leaves open the possibility for more adventures. There is enough background information in the opening chapter to fill in readers new to the series, and series fans of the books won't be disappointed; there's plenty of suspense, and there are lots of thrilling twists and turns. 

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Genre: Children

In a future where the law limits a family to only two children, third-born Luke has been in hiding for the entire twelve years of his life, until he enters boarding school under an assumed name and is forced to face his fears.

Genre: Children

In the third installment of Haddix's series about a futuristic society in which families are forbidden to have more than two children, Nina, a secondary character in Among the Impostors, is falsely accused of treason and imprisoned by the Population Police. Her interrogator gives her an ultimatum: either she can get three other child prisoners, illegal third-borns like Nina, to reveal who harbored them and where they got their fake identification cards, or she will be executed. Nina sees a chance to escape the prison (which seems rather convenient at the time) and, taking the prisoners with her, quickly discovers their street smarts. But when their food supply runs out, Nina seeks the boy she knew as Lee (the series' original protagonist). Haddix expertly describes the impact of Nina's upbringing in hiding (she doesn't know how to swim; the sound of students laughing loudly reminds her of the first time she overheard children playing outside and could not join them). As with the last book, there are dense revelations at the end (including an explanation of Nina's ease in escaping prison), and some of them may test readers' willingness to suspend disbelief. Even so, the author delivers more than enough suspense to keep fans hooked and to intrigue new recruits as well. Ages 9-14.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-Haddix continues her science fiction dystopian tale about illegal third children in this sequel to Among the Hidden (1998) and Among the Imposters (2001, both S & S). Nina is imprisoned by the Population Police for being an illegal child. She is given the opportunity to save herself by spying on the other three children who are in the jail cell with her. Nina finds herself both drawn to them and fearful for her own life. When she has a chance to escape, she decides to take them with her and is surprised at their survival skills as they fend for themselves in the wild. Then, Nina is captured again. This time, though, she has an even harder decision to make-will she put her life in danger in order to save her friends? In a surprising ending, Nina finds that the children she rescued and the man from the Population Police who arrests her the second time are part of a group dedicated to saving third children like herself. While the book could stand alone, it is much more interesting and meaningful when read after the two previous volumes. As a character, Nina is well drawn and believable but it is the agonizing moral decisions that she must make that elevate the book beyond the average tale. Haddix is a superb storyteller and her view of a future world short of food that allows only two children per family is both scary and plausible.

© Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX

Genre: Children

In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong.

After helping Chip and Alex survive 15th century London, Jonah and Katherine are summoned to help another missing child, Andrea, face her fate. Andrea is really Virginia Dare, from the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jonah and Katherine are confident in their ability to help Andrea fix history, but when their journey goes dangerously awry, they realize that they may be in over their head. They've landed in the wrong time period. Andrea doesn't seem that interested in leaving the past. And even worse, it appears that someone has deliberately sabotaged their mission…

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