Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Among the Free (Shadow Children Series #7)

Among the Free (Shadow Children Series #7)

4.5 153
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

See All Formats & Editions

"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


"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.

Editorial Reviews

The final episode of Margaret Peterson Haddix's futuristic Shadow Children sequence brings conclusions, but also surprises. Illegal third-born Luke Garner is working undercover in Population Police headquarters. Endangered by exposure at every turn, he is offered a dangerous mission that he cannot refuse: He is assigned to travel around the region to issue new identification. At the very first stop, however, things go terribly wrong when Luke unintentionally sparks a local revolt. Before he can quell the disturbance, the uprising has blown into widespread revolution.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is the sixth book in the series "Shadow Children." It stands alone pretty well; it is not necessary to have read any of the others to figure out what is going on. The protagonist, Luke, is the third child in his family and in this repressive society which only allows two children per family, he has been hiding all his life. What schooling he has was sort of cobbled together by his mother, and the only jobs he can get are menial ones where no one cares if he has no papers. The government controls the way people live, where they live, the food they get, the food they grow. It is all done so subtly that most people do not even notice that they are being controlled. Some do, of course, but how can a few people who see the truth make the whole population see it too? Fortunately, Luke is not alone. He has had a variety of jobs and has met many other "third children" who have become his friends. There are also some adults whose minds are not closed yet. Things come to a head when Luke discovers some posters stating that third children are responsible for all the ills of the world. The posters have not ever been used, but what will happen when the government begins to use them? Luke learns that this will happen very soon and he is determined to stop it. Wonderful descriptions of the landscape and buildings of this planet—if it is our planet—are captivating and keep us turning the pages.
School Library Journal
Gr 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 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Fans of the series won't be disappointed."

-- School Library Journal

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Shadow Children Series , #7
Sold by:
Sales rank:
810L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Luke Garner stood shoulder to shoulder with a dozen other boys, waiting. It was six A.M., time for the daily inspection of all workers at Population Police headquarters, when all their uniforms had to be perfectly fitted, perfectly spotless, perfectly pressed; all their spines perfectly straight; all their expressions perfectly obedient. But Luke and the boys beside him were stablehands, the lowest of the low, so even though they had to line up outside at six A.M., sometimes it was six thirty or even seven before the sergeant stalked down the row. He'd peer at them suspiciously, assigning extra work any time he saw a wayward lock of hair, a wayward crease in a uniform, or even the suspicion of a smirk on a boy's face.

"You!" he'd bark. "Shovel all the manure from stall one into stall two. And then shovel all of that into stall three..."

Only the stupidest boy would protest that that method was inefficient and would take twice as long, that his time might be better spent doing some other chore. All the boys in this lineup had learned not to be that stupid. Once, a long time ago, soon after Luke had arrived at Population Police headquarters, a boy had dared to question a task: "Isn't there a bigger shovel I can use? It'd go faster that way." The boy had been beaten in full sight of all the other boys.

And then he'd disappeared.

Luke had not made any friends in the stable. The unspoken rule seemed to be Keep to yourself. But Luke spent a lot of time thinking about the boy who had dared to ask a question, the one who'd disappeared.

"Atten-tion!" It was the sergeant, arriving earlier than he ever had before.

"Yes, sir!" Luke shouted back with the other boys, snapping his arm up into a salute. He worried that his arm had come up too late, that his "yes, sir!" had been a split second too slow, that he'd be singled out for punishment. The sergeant narrowed his eyes, seeming to stare straight at Luke, and Luke's heart pounded in his chest. But then the sergeant's gaze fell on the next boy in the line.

"You are worthless stableboys," the sergeant spat out. He glared at each boy in turn. "You're no better than the manure you wallow in."

"Yes, sir!" Luke and the other boys yelled. They'd been trained. They knew what they were supposed to say.

"But..." The sergeant paused. This was different. Usually he could go on berating them endlessly. "Some of you will have a chance to better yourselves." A new tone had entered his voice. Slyness? Uncertainty?

For the millionth time since he'd left his home nearly a year earlier, Luke wished he could understand other people better, that he could see through their lies to hear what they were actually saying.

"Some of you will be called to a higher purpose," the sergeant continued. "Some of you will be reassigned to a new task for the glory of our country."

None of the boys dared to move, but Luke could practically feel the others around him wanting to exchange glances, to see if anyone else knew what the sergeant was talking about. Higher purpose? New task? What did that mean?

Another man strode up beside the sergeant. He was taller, more imposing. His uniform was more crisply pressed, and he had a row of medals on his chest.

"I'll choose," he said imperiously.

He walked up and down the row of boys, peering carefully at each one of them. Luke held his breath, as if exhaling might call too much attention to himself. He didn't want to be reassigned. He liked working with the horses. They were...safe. The stables were a good place to hide.

I, for one, have had enough of hiding. Words a friend had spoken months ago echoed in his mind. Luke had not come to Population Police headquarters looking for safety; only a fool would want to hide there. Luke and his friends had had plans. They'd had dreams. But they hadn't realized how big Population Police headquarters were, how difficult it would be just to pass a message from one person to another. Luke couldn't be sure he and his friends had accomplished anything. Sometimes when he was brushing down a horse, he'd whisper into the horse's quivering ear, "Maybe I am just a worthless stableboy. Maybe that's okay."

Luke had spent most of his thirteen years around hogs, not horses, and any hog would have looked back at him with its piggy eyes as if to say, So? You think I care? But the horses looked at Luke as if they understood. One horse in particular had a way of sliding her nose under Luke's arm as if she were comforting him, as if she wanted to say, I know you've been through a lot. I know you've been hurt and hungry. I know you miss your family and friends. I know you're scared. You just stay right here with me and you'll be fine. Secretly, Luke called this horse Jenny, in memory of a friend of his, Jen Talbot. But deep down he knew that the human Jen would not have been so comforting. Jen probably would have screamed at him: What you are talking about? You're not just some worthless stableboy. You're important! Go out and change the world!

Luke was starting to feel a little dizzy from not breathing. He dared to ease a little air out of his lungs, to take another shallow breath.

The man with the medals on his chest was taking his time walking down the row of boys, staring into their eyes, reaching out to test their arm muscles.

"You," the man said, picking out the tallest kid in the row and shoving him to the other side of the room. "And you," he said, yanking the most muscular boy out of the line.

Luke allowed himself to take a deeper breath. He let himself notice how cold it was out here in the early morning chill, and think about how much warmer it would be back in the stables. Two down, only one to go -- he was probably safe. Of the boys remaining, he wasn't the tallest or the heaviest or the strongest. He was just a typical scrawny kid.

The man narrowed his eyes, examining the boys left in the lineup. He grabbed one boy's head so he could stare into the boy's ears; he studied another boy's straw-colored hair. Luke half expected the man to reach into some boy's mouth to look at his teeth, the way the head groom did with the horses.

Good thing Mrs. Talbot managed to get the braces off my teeth, Luke thought. He had a flash of remembering a light-hearted moment in the midst of sorrow and fear: him and his friends laughing in a cozy cottage while Mrs. Talbot tugged on metal bands and wires and protested, "Look, kids, orthodontia is not my specialty. What do they put these things on with? Cement?" In that moment, Luke hadn't cared that the braces endangered him, linking him to a suspect past. He hadn't even cared that all her tugging and scraping hurt. He'd just been happy to laugh with his friends.

Now something caught in his throat, and he had to swallow hard to fight back his memories, to hold back his sense that he deserved to be -- no, that he was -- more than a worthless, lonely stableboy. Maybe he made a little noise, deep in his throat. The man with the medals on his chest snapped his head toward Luke, focused the gaze of his narrowed eyes squarely on Luke's face. The man gave Luke a cruel, thin-lipped smile. In horror, Luke watched the man slowly lift his arm -- higher, higher, and higher, until it was aimed straight out from his body, the first finger extended.

"You," the man said.

He was pointing at Luke.

Copyright © 2006 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Meet the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Among the Free (Shadow Children Series #7) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 153 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Haddix has done it again. Her amazing stories are wonderful they inspire so many of us. Among the free is the time when Lukes fear has finally gone. Telling his story to the whole world is a hard thing to do when your a third child. He faced his fears and he was careful with his words. With Luke trying his hardest the popilation police "poppies" are gone they are no longer the highest people to be controlled by. There young and old villagers knew it was time to let the light shine and do something without waiting around for the other people to do something about it. As they became stonger and stronger there was no way the population police could do something. These people, third children, and anyone else in the world where finally free. Luke knew that his future would be bright. He wants to live the best life that he can. To tell the story to the next generations!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing! It pulls you in and like makes you never want to stop reading. It was great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series..The Shadow Children...is above and beyond any other books I have read. Beginning with the first one, I couldn't wait for the next one. #7, the final book in the series, provides a great ending and leaves you feeling very satisfied!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this. I just coudnt stop reading it. The last part was just really touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this whole series!!! among the free was the epic conclusion needed to finish this heart pounding series. And the series was written by margaret peterson haddix... whats jo to love???;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of her books (shadow children sequence) and out of all this one is my favorite praise for Haddix!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Margret Peterson Haddix has always been my favorite writer but this book is the best one she has made
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is my most favorite I loved it so much once I picked up the book I could never put it down and that was for all the books it was heart breaking for me to end the series I cryed at the end they were joyful cheers I'm so glad all the Shadow children got to be... I'm not going to tell ending because I want you to read it trust me you will love it and in my opinion Margaret Peterson Haddix is the best athor ever please Margaret Peterson Haddix write another book of Shadow Children the title could be Among Us or whatever you decide and if you can't write another book I understand because your to busy writeing your other great books! Sincerly, Your biggest fan Hannnah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I freaking love this series. Awesome. You'll like it too. Gvbbcbfsfcdgvd. That was for fun
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome even though ihavent even read it though Probally is going to be one of the best ones in the series Im on the 5th one right now
Michael Brisbin More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Erfan Emami More than 1 year ago
great ending and i couldn't put this book down until the end 5*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Among the Free
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Scholastic Inc.
Realistic fiction

Imagine having to leave your family just because you were born third. Luke was a third child and he was taken away from his family because the Population Police (Poppies) made a law that said that the third children had to live in a camp because there wasn't enough food to feed the whole family. After a while of living in the camp, Luke became tired of being bossed around so he ran away. Among the Free By Margaret Peterson Haddix is about Luke running away from the Population Police. Luke finds a town that is broken down with not a lot of people. After a while he finds people that want to help him hide away from the Poppies. Luke escapes being killed by villagers, starts to hear voices in his head, and risks his life throughout the book.

Luke is a strong hearted kid who risks his life to make third children legal. Along his journey, he meets other third children who want to protest against the Population Police. Nina and Trey, who are also third children, become friends with Luke at the Population Police camp. Nina and Trey help Luke make a plan to escape the Population Police camp and inspire Luke to go on to protest against the Population Police. Nina and Luke are about the same age and are good friends. They are respectful to each other and look out for each other. However, when they try to escape they do not succeed. Eli was a man Luke met when he ran away. Eli was very nice and caring, he gave Luke food and shelter for the night. Eli is also protective of his own family.

This book was great because it's realistic fiction and I can relate some of the things with my personal life. Luke, the main character, is around the same age as many middle school kids, so it is easy to relate to what he is going through throughout the book. Among the Free was very hard to put down because there was a lot of action in it. I think kids my age would enjoy this book because it's very exciting and you have to guess what comes next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix Reviewed by Ashley CAUTION: BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK YOU MUST READ THE BOOKS BEFORE THIS ONE OR YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND IT! Will they finally overthrow the ruthless, vicious Population Police? Will they ever get to feel the sweet feeling of being free? ¿Are all of those innocent people really going to die?¿ (p. 104) You won¿t ever know these answers until you read the exhilarating book Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix. She has won the international reading association Children¿s Book Award. Many of the scenes in this book are at the Population Police headquarters. The main character is a teen named Luke Garner. His fake ID name although, is Lee Grant. Luke is a courageous, loyal, kind, loving friend to everyone. The big issue about this book is the problem about the Population Police. The Population Police controls everyone and everything around him or her. Nobody likes them but you have to obey them or you will die if you are caught. There was a boy in the story named Trey that got caught. He was a friend of Luke. Will he die or come out alive? The theme of this story is that Luke and the other main characters always have something else to deal with after they solve the first problem. The way that the author writes this book is phenomenal. She uses figurative language and gives voice to the characters. This is good because you always know what the characters are doing and thinking. That is why her books are so enjoyable to read. You should definitely read this book because it concludes all that has happened in the previous 6 books. Also, it really gives you a satisfying ending to all of the books before it. You should read this book because it has good vocabulary and has a very adventurous story. This book is great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this sereies it is my favorite serirs very intence but great books you must read these!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was another piece of art crafted by Ms. Margaret Peterson Haddix. It was a great ending to the whole shadow children series with Luke Garner, the one who started the shadow children series, ending the series with his courageous act of bravery. The once young and scared third child now had his chance to shine light on the real problem; that it was not the third children's fault for causing starvation of the country but the population police. This book tells of Luke starting out as a stable boy who scoops horse manure and cleans the horses' stalls. When he is specially chosen to do a mission he is brought to a town where he is told to shoot a old women who wouldn't listen to the population police. When Luke refuses to shoot her, he runs away and that is the start to a revolution. After one act of bravery, it set off a wave in the whole country to stand against the population police rule. This book shed light on an end of the population police's reign and a start to a new found constitution and government. It couldn't have ended without a third child fixing the problem he was born in. Almost all thought that all hope was gone and lost. In the beginning, Luke couldn't ever even have imagined what the future held for him. He couldn't have ever imagined that he would ever be free and allowed to do what ever he wanted to do in life but now that he was a free human being. He now had a chance to do what normal kids do. He had a chance to live the life he always wanted and now, he had the opportunity to live the life as an individual who was not looked at for being a third child, nor needing to fear that his life was in constant danger. His life was now what he had always wondered as to be freedom. I recommend this book for young adults through adults. This book series has a wonderful and mysterious beginning and you are fulfilled with a wonderful and satisfying ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great. Thats all we can say. Great. -Shawn
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book series is so sad at times , but also has very happy moments . This book captures the very happy moments like readers want and also sad moments that readers also want. I think this book is great for young readers with big imaginations. Hope you love this book too! It will really keep you occupied!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesomely good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Damn this is the best thing ever! Its so sad to see them go but im proud for how amazing they were! Sadly you dont see as much of the friends but it starts with luke and it ends with luke. People die sadly and its just unbelievable that such amazing stuff exists!! You are truly gifted with his art mrs. Haddix!