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Among the Free [Hardcover]

Margaret Peterson Haddix
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 1 2006 Shadow Children (Book 7)
"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, Luke thought. 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, Among the Free brings the Shadow Children sequence to a chilling conclusion.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9–This final installment in the set focuses on illegal third-child Luke, who has been working undercover in the Population Police stables with the hope of somehow helping to topple the oppressive regime. After being handpicked for a special chore by government officials, Luke and several other boys are loaded into a van and driven through the gates of headquarters and out into the world. All of the country's citizens are being issued new identification cards and they are told to knock on every door and summon the terrified people to a mandatory assembly. But one woman's steely refusal to comply kick-starts a revolution in which Luke is destined to play a critical role. Haddix's storytelling hums along quickly, if somewhat predictably. She relies a bit too heavily on stock dialogue and caricatures; change the name of the evil empire in command, for instance, and lines like The Population Police will prevail could have been written for any number of government goons in practically any futuristic novel. That said, this is a light, easy read that delivers what it promises. Fans of the series won't be disappointed.–Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Ordered to kill an old woman, Luke--an illegal third child hiding out as a member of the organization he seeks to overthrow--flees, sparking a revolt that carries him back to Population Police headquarters, where he discovers a plot that forces him to make a life-altering choice. As in previous books in the Shadow Children series, Haddix focuses on philosophical issues, creating a bleak futuristic world populated with sketchy characters trotted out largely to demonstrate various opinions or behaviors. Still, there's enough action to keep things from stalling amid Luke's internal struggles, and series fans will be happy that revolution has, after five volumes, finally begun. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great ending for a great series Oct. 4 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the sixth and last in the Shadow Children series.
Luke Garner is a shadow child, the third child in a family. In a world who's supplies are stretched to the limit, the government sets a law that families are only allowed to have two children, any third children discovered by the population police will be taken and or killed. Luke has been fighting a battle to over throw the population police from the inside out with the help of his friends, Nina, and Trey.
Will the shadow children be freed, or shot down like so many others before?
I'm sorry to say this final book did not impress me. Not like I wanted it to.
Ok book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing ending to a good series June 30 2006
By Calamari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Among the Free takes place quite a while after Among the Enemy and revolves around Luke, the protagonist of the first, second, and fourth books in the series. It takes place in a world where there have been extreme food shortages, so families are only allowed to have two children. Any family who has three children is severely punished, and the Third Child is killed. Due to a series of inadequately explained events, the government is overthrown and it looks as though Luke and the other Third Children might finally be able to come out of hiding. Unfortunately, the new government has other ideas.

Among the Free could have been a good finish to the Shadow Children series. Sadly, the ending is so rushed and implausible, that it spoils the rest of the book. It seems as though the author wrote the first part of the book, and then ran out of time to conclude the book in a satisfying manner. Even the tone of the ending is different; the series is fairly dark, while the ending is the exact opposite. The result is a very strong beginning and middle and a fizzle-out, unsatisfying ending.

Another problem is that many of the main characters' stories are not resolved. If you are not familiar with the series, the third book is about Nina, another Third Child; the fifth book is about Trey, a friend of Luke's who is also a Third Child; and the sixth book is about Luke's brother. References are made to characters from the earlier books, but most of the characters do not come back. However, a lot of the story revolves around Luke having imaginary conversations with Jen, who died in the first book. The author should have spent more time on the characters who were still alive and relevant, rather than the characters who weren't.

The book isn't all bad. In fact, except for the end, it's fairly good. The story advances at a slower pace than some of the earlier books, but it's still interesting and has some surprising twists.

If you've read the first six books in the series and are dying to find out what happens, go out and read the seventh, but don't expect a masterpiece. Or, if you want, you could use your imagination to make up a better ending.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Ending to a Good Series Oct. 17 2006
By Tamela Mccann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Among the Free should have been the exciting climax to a well-done series about illegal third children fighting the Population Police. Instead, it is rushed and unbelievable, with Luke, our hero from the first few books, still unsure of himself and still being led by the voice of his friend Jen instead of thinking things through for himself.

The story picks up with Luke still working for the Population Police while secretly trying to sabotage the organization. Forced to make a life or death decision, Luke panics and leaves the scene. Ms. Haddix then has Luke on the run, meeting people who are there one second and gone the next without lending anything valuable to the plot. I felt as though the author was at a loss at times as to what exactly she wanted Luke to be doing. When he finally does return to headquarters, he unwittingly stumbles upon yet another plot by the Population Police, but still he wavers on what to do. When he finally does make a decision, the action picks up but it suddenly seems so implausible based on his prior actions that Luke becomes a caricature of himself. The ending itself is very rushed and highly unbelievable, and it would have been nice to have more interaction with the other characters Haddix introduced during the series, as well as having Luke return to his family.

While the book does have its moments, overall this was quite a disappointing ending to a good series. I almost got the impression that Ms. Haddix just wanted the book to be done as the story was padded with scenes and people that just didn't matter. The action parts are what saves this rating from two stars. I hope the author decides to write one more book that covers the recovery process for these characters and does justice to a fine series overall.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Among Series July 10 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This series of books was really good and I am upset to see it end but also happy that it is done. I have read every book in the series and some that were written by this author. I thought that Luke was so brave to get up and help save his people. I really can't say much more of this book, because you need to read it. The book just makes you think about all the people that are like Luke. Not shadow children, but people who have suffered and people who have fought for what they want. I think you will enjoy the ending to this book and to know that these shadow children can now breath a little easier and stop being so scared. (I get a LITTLE rapped up in books. LOL)

A devoted reader,

MAR
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Among the Let-downs Nov. 17 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
During this interesting series, the protagionists were a group of third children living under a dictatorship with Chinese-style population laws. You follow about 10 kids through escapes and attacks from the goverment. The novel ends not even mentioning what happens to every one besides Luke Garner, in affect, dropping their characters like a rock. For some unknown reason, a despotism-style goverment ends suddenly when people get fed up with it. No mention is made of what happens to the Population Police's various resources, including: fanitical soldiers, gas, machine guns, tanks, the nation's food supply, a huge military, and a generation of brainwashed citizens. Presumably they all disappered. What then follows is a wad of pages just describing food. I take it no thought was given to what they would do after the all the feasts that effectivily demolish the food supply. If you must finish the series, rent it, but don't waste $17 like I did.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Please write another one! April 8 2007
By J. Woodward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I wasn't as disappointed with the book as much as I thought I would be after reading some of the reviews on this website. The book definitely had a more satisfying conclusion than the Series of Unfortunate Events. I found the book suspenseful enough to make me want to keep reading it. I do agree with other reviewers that the ending did seem rushed. "Can there really only be a few pages left," I thought to myself. If you have read the other books in the series I would definitely recommend reading this one, but I hope the author will begin another series telling what happens next with these characters. I'd always hoped to see the reunion between Luke and his parents. For the best of MPH, check out Running out of Time. Running Out of Time (Aladdin Fiction)
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