Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shadow Children

Once upon a time*, when I was ten or eleven or so, I brought home a book order from school. I had circled the many books I wanted my momma to buy for me, and I was sure we would sit down later and narrow down my selections. And in that book order was a book, Among the Hidden, by an author I had read before, Margaret Peterson Haddix.  
"Do you really want this weird book?" momma probably asked me. "It looks strange. The government says you can only have two kids? What kind of weirdo are you, Jayme?"

"But Momma!" I'm sure I argued, "We liked Running out of Time, the weird book about those kids who thought they lived in pioneer days and escaped! And this lady wrote that too! So it must be good!"

"Okay, fine, whatever, you odd child of mine. At least you're reading."

And I was reading. The problem was, Haddix came out with a sequel a few years later. But I was older. I was reading other books. And Among the Imposters was never at the library. And then it was another year and another book, and so on. And I always meant to read the Shadow Children series and never quite made it. I kind of forgot about them until I would see Among the Hidden sitting on my shelf, which wasn't often. I have lots of books. 

Yet at CMS, kids are still reading the Shadow Children series. The last one, Among the Free, didn't even come out til 2006. Good thing I wasn't holding my breath. :) But I digress. I was reminded. And so while I was at the library, getting Peter and the Starcatchers, I thought to myself: I should go look at Haddix's section. See what they have of her. And low and behold, they  had the whole series. So I got them. And read them. They're children's books and short, so I pretty much inhaled them. 

These folks live in a society where, due to the famine a few years back, they have limited the number of children to two per family. But that doesn't stop everyone, and I'm not entirely sure the government has provided adequate birth control. So there are lots of illegal third, sometimes fourth and fifth, children in hiding throughout the country. And that is where the series starts, with Luke, an illegal third child in hiding. Through the course of the series we meet other illegal children and see other problems within this government. But  many of these illegals have fake IDs. The end up meeting each other and banding together, hoping that one day they will become free. Hoping they will have the right to exist. 

But they were pretty great. I love the concept, I love all books like this. Of course. I like weird books. Lucky for me, they're pretty in right now (ie: Hunger Games).  I'm a little worried they're getting ruined (see my next post) but I'm not too concerned. So yeah, go on. Read these books. You'll love 'em!

*some facts have been exaggerated for the enjoyment of the story telling. But the concept of this is completely true: I was a strange child. I read strange books.

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