Nina, a secondary character in Among the Imposters, is falsely accused of treason and imprisoned. In this third installment that began with Among the Hidden, "the author delivers more than enough suspense to keep fans hooked and to intrigue new recruits as well," said PW. Ages 9-14. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The first two parts of Haddix's "Population Police" sequence were tight, exciting, futuristic problem novels. For the third book her premise remains the same¾all third-born children are in peril of their lives in a society governed by fears of famine. Haddix extends the premise by picking as her heroine Nina, a thirteen-year-old illegal who was a minor figure in the last story. So far so good. Then Nina is arrested and coerced into spying on and potentially betraying a group of three very young illegals. As the story focuses on moral issues, paranoia becomes its overriding emotion. A rational development, true, yet Nina is a difficult heroine to like, and the convolutions of the plot become increasingly labyrinthine until it's hard to sort out good from bad, hero from villain. Close, but no cigar. 2002, Simon & Schuster,
In this somewhat thin follow-up to Among the Imposters (Simon & Schuster, 2001/VOYA August 2001) and Among the Hidden (1998/VOYA October 1998), set in a drought- and famine-plagued world where families are allowed only two children, Nina Idi has been removed from her boarding school and arrested by the dreaded Population Police. She is implicated in a conspiracy to falsely accuse some of her classmates of being illegal third children. As it happens, she is innocent—worse still, she herself is a third child trying to pass with fake identification. Taken off to prison, Nina is threatened with death. Her only hope, she is told, is to convince her three younger cellmates to confess to her that they are third children. If Nina can provide the evidence necessary to execute Alia, Matthias, and Percy, she is told that she will be freed. Not very mature and given to indecisiveness, Nina wavers over whether to turn in the other children until the chance comes for them to escape the prison. The question is, can they all decide to trust each other? Although Haddix's novel moves quickly and her characters are satisfactory for the task at hand, the author fails to flesh out her world adequately. If there are too many people and not enough food, one wonders, why is there so much empty but obviously fertile land around Nina's boarding school and around the prison of the Population Police? This third installment will appeal to fans of the first two books in the series, but is unlikely to attract new readers. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Simon & Schuster, 160p,
Gr 5-9-Haddix continues her science fiction dystopian tale about illegal third children in this sequel to Among the Hidden (1998) and Among the Imposters (2001, both S & S). Nina is imprisoned by the Population Police for being an illegal child. She is given the opportunity to save herself by spying on the other three children who are in the jail cell with her. Nina finds herself both drawn to them and fearful for her own life. When she has a chance to escape, she decides to take them with her and is surprised at their survival skills as they fend for themselves in the wild. Then, Nina is captured again. This time, though, she has an even harder decision to make-will she put her life in danger in order to save her friends? In a surprising ending, Nina finds that the children she rescued and the man from the Population Police who arrests her the second time are part of a group dedicated to saving third children like herself. While the book could stand alone, it is much more interesting and meaningful when read after the two previous volumes. As a character, Nina is well drawn and believable but it is the agonizing moral decisions that she must make that elevate the book beyond the average tale. Haddix is a superb storyteller and her view of a future world short of food that allows only two children per family is both scary and plausible.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Billed as a companion to Among the Hidden (1998), this addition to Haddix's burgeoning series about an Orwellian future in which third children are hunted down and killed follows the moral dilemma of a peripheral character from Among the Impostors (2001). The Population Police has captured Nina because of her involvement with a supposed plot to expose third children. An undercover third child herself, she is offered a deal: confirm the illegality of three other suspected third children imprisoned along with her, and she will go free. As she gets to know these children and sorts through her own sense of betrayal at the hands of her former boyfriend, she must choose between saving them and betraying them. There are no real surprises here; readers familiar with the previous novels will recognize the patterns of duplicity, and Nina's own eventual moral decision is never truly in doubt. This text's strength, in common with its predecessors', is its ability to imagine the bizarre and surreal experiences of its protagonists. Nina has been confined and hidden since birth; this is borne in on the reader with telling details: " 'The sun rises?' Nina asked. She'd never thought about how it got up into the sky. In pictures and on TV it was just there, overhead." But by the third time around, there is a certain sameness to the revelations of the end, in which it is revealed that Nina's ordeal has been an elaborate plot to test her fitness for membership in a resistance to the government's restrictions on third children. Along with Nina and Luke (who makes a cameo appearance from the other titles), the reader may be justified in asking, just how much longer before the Revolution? (Fiction. 9-14)