It was awful. All those eyes, all looking at him. It was straight out of Luke's worst nightmares. Panic rooted him to the spot, but every muscle in his body was screaming for him to run, to hide anywhere he could. For twelve years his entire life he'd had to hide. To be seen was death. "Don't!" he wanted to scream. "Don't look at me! Don't report me! Please!" But the muscles that controlled his mouth were as frozen as the rest of him. The tiny part of his mind that wasn't flooded with panic knew that that was good -- now that he had a fake I.D., the last thing he should do was act like a boy who's had to hide. But to act normal, he needed to move, to obey the man at the front and sit down. And he couldn't make his body do that, either. -- from Among the Impostors
Luke Garner is terrified.
Out of hiding for the first time in his life, he knows that any minute one of his new classmates at Hendricks School for Boys could discover his secret: that he's a third child passing as the recently deceased Lee Grant. And in a society where it's illegal for families to have more than two children, being a third child means certain death at the hands of the dreaded Population Police.
His first experience outside the safety of his home is bewildering. There's not a single window anywhere in the school; Luke can't tell his classmates apart (even as they subject him to brutal hazing); and the teachers seem oblivious to it all.
Desperate to fit in, Luke endures the confusion and teasing until he discovers an unlocked door to the outside, and a chance to understand what is really going on. But to take this chance -- to find out the secrets of Hendricks -- Luke will need to put aside his fears and discover a courage that a lifetime in hiding couldn't thwart.
Once again, best-selling author Margaret Peterson Haddix delights her fans with this spine-tingling account of an all-too-possible future. Among the Impostors is a worthy companion to Among the Hidden and a heart-stopping thriller in its own right.
Continuing the story of Luke Garner, a third child born under a futuristic government that only allows two children per family, this sequel to Among the Hidden picks up with Luke finally out of hiding and going to boarding school under an assumed identity. While Haddix is often able to capture the suspense of her earlier work, this installment gets mired in too many confusing details, and the conclusion is flimsy. As Luke's initial bewilderment at Hendricks School for Boys subsides, he begins to notice that some students behave strangely some appear to respond to several different names, and others are constantly holding themselves, rocking. When he discovers a bunch of other "exnays," or third children, meeting in the woods, he hopes that he's finally found a community where he belongs. But Luke is still frightened of being turned over to the Population Police should he trust these kids with his true identity? The descriptions of the school, windowless and built like a labyrinth, combined with accounts of obtuse school staff, give Haddix's story the appropriate nightmarish quality, and readers will understand Luke's constant feelings of anxiety. Other plot points are harder to follow, such as the confusing test the exnays put new kids through to see if they are third children. In the end, Mr. Hendricks, the school's founder, shows up to shed light on all the mysteries, but his explanations are less than believable, and questions left unanswered point too obviously to another sequel. Ages 9-14.