Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1)

Among the Hidden  - Margaret Peterson Haddix, Cliff Nielsen Beautifully written story and full of emotional impact. While it's aimed at children between the ages of 8-12, the themes revolving around the story in "Among the Hidden" are those that are those that will stay with you. Luke is one among several "shadow children", a third child born where families are only allowed two. What made this such an engrossing read to me was noting how Luke accounts for his sentiments in living as a "shadow child", especially when the lot behind his house turns from a forest to a housing development. It not only further confines him, but also brings across further insecurities between him and his family, and they're presented rather realistically.Luke's world changes when he meets another "shadow child" living among the community behind his house, one named Jen. Jen has a radical set of ideals, yearning for freedom and telling Luke about the injustices. Granted, I thought some parts of this could've been further explored, but I understand the method of presentation and characterization that the author was going for - and for the most part it was well-presented.There are some unexpected revelations as the book goes forward, but I think it's something that can be constructively discussed between parents and children in the target audience for this book. There may be some children who find the content intense (character death and depiction of violence against children), but I think it shows a realistic portrait of injustice and taking the necessary steps to overcome those injustices in order to move forward.It's the first in a series, and I have to say for being the first book in this series, it's very well done. I'll definitely look into the further books. Recommended, though I issue a warning for those who might be sensitive to the portrayals within.Overall score: 4/5