Age Group: Middle Grade
Release Date: June 28, 2002
Nina Idi is a shadow child, the illegal third born in her family. She lives in a society where families are only allowed two children. Nina has been betrayed by the boy she loved. She is falsely accused, arrested and thrown into prison by the Population Police. Nina knows she is innocent of the charges. She is enraged and confused.
Nina is now faced with a most difficult decision. She will have to coerce three of her fellow prisoners into admitting they are third children, and she will save herself; or be killed. Ultimately, what choice will Nina make? Who should Nina friendship, trust and love?
As always, Haddix writes a thought-provoking, exciting novel that hooks you in on the very first page, and keeps your attention until the very last. I loved that she switched protagonists --- Haddix always keeps readers on their toes.
I read this book in one sitting and completely devoured it. There wasn't as much action in this book as there was in the first two, and it was more about Nina's internal conflict to either turn the three children in, and betray them.
I love how there's always lots of twists to the story line in Haddix's books, and this one was no exception. There are tons of moments where you're thinking to yourself, "I did NOT expect that to happen."
As I said before, I love the fact that Haddix switched up the protagonists. It gives us an insight to the brain of a different "Shadow Child", which also helps us as readers really empathize with the third children.
Nina was a smart, resourseful teenager that was fun to read about. I was talking about this book with someone, and they brought up a point where it was a little weird that a big part of the story was Nina being betrayed by Jason, her boyfriend, when this book is geared towards a younger audience. It's not that big of a deal, but it did bring up a good point.
I've always been a big fan of the way Margaret Peterson Haddix writes --- ever since fifth grade, when my teacher read Running Out Of Time to our class. I love the fact that all of her books have such unique premises, and that there hasn't been a book of hers that I've read and didn't enjoy.
She really knows how to create a fantastic fictional world that is realistic, scary, and probable.
I've read the Shadow Children series a couple of times now, and then ending of Among The Betrayed still shocks me. I love the way the book ends, and I think it's set up perfectly for readers to dive right into the fourth book in the series.
I do like the cover (I like all of the covers in this series). It's creepy and makes you want to know what the book is about. I like the fact that it shows the four main characters on the cover, and also how they are placed is how they are in the book --- the three young children together, and Nina not really a part of their group.
The Final Verdict:
As always, this series definitely doesn't disappoint. You can read the Shadow Children series out of order (that's what I did back in fifth grade) and it will still make sense. So, if you didn't like the first two books, don't give up on this series yet. Try reading it from Nina's point of view.