I loved reading Margaret Peterson Haddix‘s book, Turnabout. When I saw this series, I knew I had to give it a try. From Amazon:
In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Luke has never been to school. He’s never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend’s house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He’s lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family’s farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.
Then, one day Luke sees a girl’s face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he’s met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows — does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?
To start, imagine how horrible of a life that would be for Luke, to know that according to the government, he shouldn’t exist. Thankfully, he has an extremely loving family, who is willing to risk everything for him. But he still has to live a “hidden” life, which is not easy for anyone.
This book follows a common theme of government population control. With the premise being that there is not enough food to sustain the current population. But yet Luke’s family, who are not wealthy, are always able to feed their 3 children.
When Luke meets Jen, he feels hope for a future for himself. He knows that he isn’t the only third child. There are others.
He is willing to sneak out of his house as much as possible to be able to see her. But his fear gets the better of him, and he does not go to the rally with her. Which worked out favorably for him.
Jen’s dad shows that not everyone in the government wants to kill the third children. He saves Luke and gives him a new identity. He gives Luke’s family hope for his future.
This book is written for a young-teen audience but is still enjoyable to the older audience as well. It was a quick and simple read but was also engaging. I loved seeing Luke grow up and mature thanks to Jen.