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the Impostors (Shadow Children sequence, Book 2) by Margaret Peterson
Haddix is a well-written sequel to Among the
Hidden. Impostors continues the story of Luke who must hide his identity as
a third Child from the outside world. Luke Garner, now with a false ID is in hiding
at the exclusive Hendrick School for Boys.
the Impostors immediately follows the action of Among the Hidden. To briefly recap the story up to date. In a
futuristic America, a food shortage scare, has forced the American government
to create the Two Child law and to establish the Population Police to enforce
the population code. Luke is the twelve-year old third or shadow child of
Edna and Harlan Garner. When agricultural production laws reduce the Garner
farm to a subsistence level, they sell off part of their acreage. This land is
turned into an exclusive housing development for the rich elites of society
known as the Barons. It is in one of the Baron houses that Luke sees and then
meets Jennifer Rose Talbot. Jen is the leader of an underground connection for
Shadow children. When the Shadow Children Rally, Jen was leading turned deadly,
Luke and his family are put at risk. Impostors
begins when Jens father gives Luke the False ID of Lee Grant a filthy rich
city boy who died in a skiing accident and has him placed in the exclusive
Hendrick School for Boys. There Luke/Lee is taunted and teased mercilessly by
the other boys. One of his roommates that Luke/Lee has nicknamed Jackel Boy
is the ringleader and his influence seems to extend to the hall monitors. One
day, Luke/Lee accidentally finds himself outside of the building and escapes to
a wooded area and discovers the rudiments for a garden. Escaping to the garden
becomes the whole purpose of his life. When it is destroyed, he is made aware
that other boys are escaping to the woods. Who are they? Why?
The tension in this book continues taut and builds
once more to a surprising conclusion. The characters, however, are not as well
drawn. I chalk this up to a writing device to demonstrate how confusing people
are to Luke who has had little contact with people outside his immediate family
and Jen. The boys lack names and are hard to track. The teachers have names,
but it is hard to comprehend their behavior and motives. At times it appears as
if the school is ruled by the same organized principle of chaos as found in
Alice in Wonderland.
The fear filled environment continues in this second
volume of the Shadow Children sequence. The source of the fear is not from
the government and its iron fist, the Population Police, however the threat of
discovery and arrest are ever present. In this volume, the threat comes from
Luke/Lees peers, the other boys at Hendrick. It is their abuse and
victimization of Luke/Lee that is high-lighted. In this regard, the books
theme has become less futuristic and more universal. There are many books that
relate similar situations at residential schools. Recommended titles, depending
on reading level, include, the Harry Potter books, The Chocolate Wars, and A Separate
Margaret Peterson Haddix is an
author of childrens and young adult books. She was raised on a farm in Ohio.
She graduated college from Miami University (of Ohio). She was a newspaper reporter in
Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in
Danville, Illinois. Her books include, young peoples novels Out of Time (1995); Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphey (1996); Leaving Fishers (1997); Just
Ella (1999); Turnabout (2000); Takeoffs
and Landings (2001); The Girl With
500 Middle Names (2001): and Anya's
Wig (2002) Because of Anya (2002);
two short story collections Fine? (2000) Going Through the Motions (2000) and a book of essays for teachers.
Dear Teachers (2001) The Shadow
Child sequence including, Among the
Hidden (1998), Among the Impostors
(2001), and Among the Betrayed (2002).
Ms. Haddix has two children and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. The fourth
book in the Shadow Child sequence entitled, Among
the Barons (2003) will be published next year.
Among the Impostors by
Margaret Peterson Haddix is the Second Book in the Shadow Children sequence.
The series is thought provoking and worth reading. I do, however, advise that
readers begin with Book I since it establishes the political and legal structure
of the society, however, the plotline of Book II can stand alone. The book is recommend for ages 9 years
through 12 years.
© 2002 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction
from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the United Church
of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at Dowling College,
Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested in the interplay
between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area of research is in
the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.