Review posted November 19, 2008.
Book #1 of the Shadow Children series
Aladdin Paperbacks, 2000. 153 pages.
I finally read the first book in this series, having completely forgotten that I read the second book already, Among the Impostors.
This book sets the stage for the series. Luke lives on a farm. He's never gone off the farm or seen anyone outside his family, but he was able to help with chores -- until the woods got cut down and a housing development was built behind their house.
Now Luke must not even go in a room with an open window, for fear someone might see him. Luke is the third child in his family, and in this future society, third children are illegal.
However, Luke finds a way to look outside and watch his new, rich neighbors. When one family -- mother, father, and two children -- have all left the house, he notices someone else still moving around. Could there be another third child living in hiding.
I read this book with our Homeschoolers' Book Group at the library. The kids' reaction was mixed. Most didn't like the ending, which sets up the rest of the series. Still, Margaret Peterson Haddix does a good job of quickly setting the stage and helping us understand this alternate world. The suspense is high as we worry with Luke that he will get caught -- or else never get to go out of the house again.
This book was read by one of the teachers in the local middle school, and then many kids came to the library looking for more in the series. It won't hook every kid, but those who get hooked want to find out what happens next.