Among the Brave (Shadow Children Series #5)

Among the Brave (Shadow Children Series #5)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix


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A Reluctant Hero

Trey may have saved Luke's life, but he still thinks of himself as a coward who can barely stand to be outdoors. Now Trey finds out Luke has been taken prisoner at Population Police headquarters. Trey is terrified, but he knows that if he doesn't rescue his friend, no one will.
At police headquarters, Trey impersonates an officer to try getting to Luke. But just when it looks like he's close, Trey suddenly finds himself in danger of exposing not just himself but all shadow children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689857959
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 08/30/2005
Series: Shadow Children Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 54,803
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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

Read an Excerpt

Among the Brave

By Margaret Peterson Haddix


Copyright © 2004 Margaret Peterson Haddix
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-689-85795-0

Chapter One

Great, Trey thought.I do one brave thing in my entire life, and now it's like, 'Got anything dangerous to do? Send Trey. He can handle it.' Doesn't anyone remember that Cowardice is my middle name?

Actually, only two other people in the entire world had ever known Trey's real name, and one of them was dead. But Trey didn't have time to think about that. He had a crisis on his hands. He'd just seen two people killed, and others in danger. Maybe he'd been in danger too. Maybe he still was. He and his friends had left the scene of all that death and destruction and total confusion, jumped into a car with an absolute stranger, and rushed off in search of help. They'd driven all night, and now the car had stopped in front of a strange house in a strange place Trey had never been before.

And Trey's friends actually expected him to take control of the situation.

"What are you waiting for?" his friend Nina asked. "Just go knock on the door."

"Why don't you?" Trey asked, which was as good as admitting that he wasn't as brave as a girl. No courage, no pride. Translate that into Latin and it'd be a good personal motto for him. Nulla fortitudo nulla superbia, maybe? Trey allowed himself a moment to drift into nostalgia for the dayswhen his biggest challenges had been figuring out how to translate Latin phrases.

"Because," Nina said. "You know. Mr. Talbot and I - well, let's just say I've got a lot of bad memories."

"Oh," Trey said. And, if he could manage to turn down his fear a notch or two, he did understand. Mr. Talbot, the man they had come to see, had once put Nina through an extreme test of her loyalties. It had been necessary, everyone agreed - even Nina said so. But it hadn't been pleasant. Mr. Talbot had kept her in prison; he'd threatened her with death.

Trey was glad he'd never been put through a test like that. He knew: He'd fail.

Trey glanced up again at the hulking monstrosity of a house where Mr. Talbot lived. He wasn't dangerous, Trey reminded himself. Mr. Talbot was going to be their salvation. Trey and Nina and a few of their other friends had come to Mr. Talbot's so they could dump all their bad news and confusion on him. So he would handle everything, and they wouldn't have to.

Trey peered toward the front of the car, where his friends Joel and John sat with the driver. Or, technically, the "chauffeur," a word derived from the French. Only the original French word - chauffer? - didn't mean "to drive." It meant "to warm" or "to heat" or something like that, because chauffeurs used to drive steam automobiles.

Not that it mattered. Why was he wasting time thinking about foreign verbs? Knowing French wasn't going to help Trey in the least right now. It couldn't tell him, for example, whether he could trust the driver. Everything would be so easy if he could know, just from one word, whether he could send the driver to knock on Mr. Talbot's door while Trey safely cowered in the car.

Or how about Joel or John? Granted, they were younger than Trey, and maybe even bigger cowards. They'd never done anything brave. Still -

"Trey?" Nina said. "Go!"

She reached around him and jerked open the door. Then she gave him a little shove on the back, so suddenly that he was surprised to find himself outside the car, standing on his own two feet.

Nina shut the door behind him.

Trey took a deep breath. He started to clench his fists out of habit and fear - a habit of fear, a fear-filled habit - and only stopped when pain reminded him that he was still clutching the sheaf of papers he'd taken from a dead man's desk. He glanced down and saw a thin line of fresh blood, stark and frightening on the bright white paper.

Trey's next breath was sharp and panicked. Had someone shot him? Was he in even greater danger than he'd imagined? His ears buzzed, and he thought he might pass out from terror. But nothing else happened, and after a few moments his mind cleared a little.

He looked at the blood again. It was barely more than a single drop.

Okay, Trey steadied himself. You just had a panic attack over a paper cut. Let's not be telling anybody about that, all right?

A paper cut indoors would have been no big deal. But outdoors - outdoors, the need to breathe was enough to panic him.

He forced himself to breathe anyway. And, by sheer dint of will, Trey made himself take a single step forward. And then another. And another.

Mr. Talbot had a long, long walkway between the street and his house, and the chauffeur had inconveniently parked off to the side, under a clump of trees that practically hid the car from the house. Trey considered turning around, getting back into the car, and telling the chauffeur to pull up closer - say, onto the Talbots'front porch. But that would mean retracing his steps, and Trey felt like he'd already come so far.

Maybe even all of three feet.

With part of his mind, Trey knew he was being foolish - a total baby, a chicken, a fear-addled idiot.

It's not my fault, Trey defended himself. It's all ... conditioning. I can't help the way I was raised. And that was the understatement of the year. For most of his thirteen years, Trey hadn't had control over any aspect of his life. He was an illegal third child - the entire Government thought he had no right to exist. So he'd had to hide, from birth until age twelve, in a single room. And then, when he was almost thirteen, when his father died ...

You don't have time to think about that now, Trey told himself sternly. Walk.

He took a few more steps forward, propelled now by a burning anger that he'd never managed to escape. His mind slipped back to a multiple-choice test question he'd been asking himself for more than a year: Whom do you hate? A) Him; B) Her; C) Yourself? It never worked to add extra choices: (D) All of the above; E) A and B; F) A and C; or G) B and C? Because then the question just became, Whom do you hate the most?

Stop it! Trey commanded himself. Just pretend you're Lee.

Trey's friend Lee had been an illegal third child like Trey, but Lee had grown up out in the country, on an isolated farm, so he'd been able to spend plenty of time outdoors. He'd almost, Trey thought, grown up normal. As much as Trey feared and hated being outdoors, Lee craved it.

"How can you stand it?" Trey had asked Lee once. "Why aren't you terrified? Don't you ever think about the danger?"

"I guess not," Lee had said, shrugging. "When I'm outdoors I look at the sky and the grass and the trees, and I guess that's all I think about."

Trey looked at the sky and the grass and the trees around him, and all he could think was, Lee should be here, walking up to Mr. Talbot's door, instead of me. Lee had been in the car with Trey and Nina and Joel and John until just about ten minutes earlier. But Lee had had the chauffeur drop him and another boy, Smits, off at a crossroads in the middle of nowhere because, Lee had said, "I have to get Smits to safety."

Trey suspected that Lee was taking Smits home, to Lee's parents' house, but Trey was trying very hard not to think that. It was too dangerous. Even thinking about it was dangerous.

And thinking about it made Trey jealous, because Lee still had a home he could go to, and parents who loved him, and Trey didn't.

But Lee would be dead right now if it weren't for me, Trey thought with a strange emotion he barely recognized well enough to name. Pride. He felt proud. And, cowardly Latin motto or no, he had a right to that pride.

For Trey's act of bravery - his only one ever - had been to save Lee's life the night before.

Beneath the pride was a whole jumble of emotions Trey hadn't had time to explore. He felt his leg muscles tense, as if they too remembered last night, remembered springing forward at the last minute to knock Lee to the side, only seconds before the explosion of glass in the very spot where Lee had stood....

It's easier being brave when you don't have time to think about your other options, Trey thought. Unlike now.

He had so many choices, out here in the open. The ones that called to him most strongly were the ones that involved hiding. How fast would he be able to run back to the car, if he needed to? Would the clump of trees be a good hiding place? Would he be able to squeeze out of sight between that giant flowerpot on the porch and the wall of the Talbot house?

Trey forced himself to keep walking. It seemed a miracle when he finally reached the front porch. He cast a longing glance toward the flowerpot, but willed himself to stab a finger at the doorbell.

Dimly, he could hear a somber version of "Westminster Chimes" echoing from indoors. Nobody came. He took a second to admire the brass door knocker, elegantly engraved with the words, GEORGE A. TALBOT, ESQUIRE. Still nobody came.

Too bad, Trey thought. Back to the car, then. But his legs didn't obey. He couldn't face the thought of walking back through all that open space again. He pressed the doorbell again.

This time the door opened.

Trey was torn between relief and panic. Relief won when he saw Mr. Talbot's familiar face on the other side of the door. See, this wasn't so bad, Trey told himself. I walked all the way up here without my legs even trembling. Take that, Nina! I am braver than you!

Trey started thinking about what he was supposed to say to Mr. Talbot. He hadn't worried about that before. Words were so much easier than action.

"I'm so glad you're home, Mr. Talbot," Trey began. "You won't believe what happened. We just -"

But Mr. Talbot cut him off.

"No, no, I do not want to buy anything to support your school's lacrosse team," he said. "And please do not come back. Tell the rest of your team that this is a no-soliciting house. Can't you see I'm a busy man?"

Mr. Talbot's eyebrows beetled together, like forbidding punctuation.

"But, Mr. Talbot - I'm not - I'm -"

Too late. The door slammed in his face.

"- Trey," Trey finished in a whisper, talking now to the door.

He doesn't remember me, Trey thought. It wasn't that surprising. Every time Mr. Talbot had visited Hendricks School, where Trey and Lee were students, Trey had been in the background, no more noticeable than the wallpaper.

Lee, on the other hand, had been front and center, talking to Mr. Talbot, joking with him, going off for special meals with him.

Mr. Talbot wouldn't have slammed the door in Lee's face, Trey thought. Was Trey jealous of that, too? No. I just wish Lee were here to talk with Mr. Talbot now.

Trey sighed, and began gathering the nerve to ring the doorbell again.

But then two things happened, one after the other.

First, a car shot out from under the house - from a hidden garage, Trey guessed. It was black and long and official-looking. Its tires screeched, winding around the curves of the driveway. Trey caught a glimpse of two men in uniforms in the front seat, and Mr. Talbot in the back. Mr. Talbot held up his hands toward the window, toward Trey, and Trey saw a glint of something metal around his wrists.


The black car bounced over the curb and then sped off down the street.

Trey was still standing there, his mouth agape, his mind struggling to make sense of what he'd seen, when the car he'd ridden in - the car that Nina, Joel, and John were still hiding in - began to inch forward, under the cover of the trees. Trey felt a second of hope: They're coming to rescue me!

But the car was going in the wrong direction.

Trey stared as the car slid away, just a shadow in the trees, then a black streak on the open road.

Then it was gone.

They left me! Trey's mind screamed. They left me!

He was all alone on an uncaring man's porch - an arrested man's porch? - out in the great wide open where anyone in the world might see him.

Without thinking, Trey dived behind the huge flowerpot, to hide.


Excerpted from Among the Brave by Margaret Peterson Haddix Copyright © 2004 by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide


Among the Hidden

Among the Impostors

Among the Betrayed

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

A Guide for Reading Groups

About the Books

Sometimes in this world it's hard to know who is telling the truth, who isn't, and what can be done about all the things that are wrong. The government claims that there isn't enough food for everyone in the world, and so they have made it illegal for any family to have more than two children. Yet hundreds of these illegal shadow children exist, and they want desperately to find a place for themselves in society. But these are children who have been forced to hide their entire lives, and who are only allowed to venture out with fake IDs in their hands and fear in their hearts. How can they sort through the conflicting information about shadow children and find out where they belong? And will they be able to find the courage to defy the government and stop hiding?

Discussion Topics

  • What are some of the ways in which having more than two children would be a burden in this society? Why do some families decide to have illegal shadow children in spite of this added strain? Do you think that the benefits of having another child outweigh the sacrifices that must be made?
  • Luke often feels hurt by the way his father treats him, especially when he is making his decision to leave the family farm. Do you think Mr. Garner means to be cruel? Jen's father, Mr. Talbot, can also seem cruel to the casual observer. Is this image justified? How are their reactions to the children different from the reactions of their wives?
  • How does the government enforce its rules and regulations? Do you think their plan for dealing with the waning food supply is a good one? Do you think it is justified?
  • Nina is reluctant to take on her false identity because she fears she will lose her past and cease to be the same person. Are her fears warranted? How do other shadow children feel about their identities, both old and new?
  • When shadow children stop hiding, they often have difficulty adjusting to their newly expanded world. In what ways would this be a hard adjustment to make? How do the different children react to their new freedoms? What has been done to help make it easier for the children?
  • Luke is a devoted friend to Jen even after her death. Why does he feel such loyalty toward her? Do you think his concept of friendship—as well as his devotion to Jen—would have been different if he hadn't been in hiding all his life? How are Nina's concepts of friendship and love affected by the fact that she is a shadow child?
  • Discuss how each character chooses to fight for the freedom of shadow children. How effective was Jen's rally? Is Mr. Talbot in a better position than the children to fight for change? How do Luke's actions fit into the movement?
  • Many of the characters find they have the potential to lead others. What are the different ways they assume leadership roles? Whose leadership is the most effective? Why?


  • The world's population grows larger every day. Write a report on population: how it has changed over the years, how it affects our society, and ways of dealing with it.
  • How do we deal with hunger and famine in our modern world? Research the policies that different countries have for dealing with hunger both at home and abroad. Stage a debate, with each person advocating a different approach, and see if you can reach a consensus about which methods are the most effective.
  • Luke's family lives on a farm, and he is very interested in gardening and hydroponics, the growing of plants in a nutrient-rich water rather than soil. Learn more about these disciplines by trying to grow some vegetables of your own. Perhaps you can plant a small garden, or try your hand at hydroponics.

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Among the Brave (Shadow Children Series #5) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 159 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the most interesting in the series. It talks about children that have been in hiding for all their lives but for the first time they step out into the unknown and have friends. Trey who has been afraid of the outside world for so long has to go on a mission to save his friends from being executed. He goes through grouling situations in heating ducts, dark streets enemy bases, and on the road for so long. Find out more by watching this heart breaking yet tearful and touching series today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remeber reading this series for the first time in elementary school and it was one of my favorites. The element of suspense is great and i really liked how the author wrote from treys point of view. You can see him change and assume responsibilty while trying to deal with his fear. I feel like i am truly part of the story. One of the best dystopian series of all time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just started reading it 2 hours ago and have not put it down. Very intriginng and AWESOME.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An awesome book filled with suspense and undescribable action. One things's for sure, you've gotta be a fast-paced reader to read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was definitely my favorite book out of all of them READ IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all the books in this series and i cannot wait to start this book
AA1314 More than 1 year ago
this book was great!!! Yiu find a lot more about Trey 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
head of the Population Police has taken over the government, and executions are common. Trey went to Mr. Talbot's home seeking help to rescue Luke and his other third born friends just as he is taken away in handcuffs. Desperate, he teams up with Luke's older, more reckless brother, Mark, to try to find the others. Mark is caught and Trey enlists in the Population Police, his only hope of freeing him. To escape, the boys make a deal with a resistance member disguised as a guard to rescue a prisoner from another torture camp. The prisoner turns out to be none other than Mr. Talbot, who headed the resistance movement. Mark and Trey are able to rescue their friends, but are unable to help the guard who helped them. The adults are ready to give up but the third born children vow to keep up the fight. Some positives of this book are, that it has tons of suspense, it will also make you want to read more and more to see what happens. That means you won't have trouble reading it and it wont bore you. This book is about how third children are illegal in the U.S and the third children that are in exile are trying to change that. The main characters in this novel are Trey, Nina, Lee, Jen, Mark, Luke, Matt, John, Mr. Talbot, Mrs. Talbot, and Joe. This book takes place in the united states in a time that has never happened before and hopefully will not happen in the future where third children are not allowed. This is an example of a little of the dialogue: Mrs. Talbot: "you're just a little boy, aren't you?" Mrs. Talbot: "all the thirds-so naïve. So sheltered. Don't you know? The only way they're going to release George is in a coffin." Trey: "no they aren't." Trey: "you can rescue him. I'll-I'll help." This book also has some negatives. One is that it can be confusing on where and what's happening. Another reason is that it has some hard vocabulary that can get you mixed up. The last reason is that there are a lot of scenes and settings in this novel, so you can get confused. The writing style of Margaret Peterson Haddix was with good length sentences that varied. The author also used third person narration for the novel. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes suspense, mystery, or action novels. This is because this novel has a lot of all of that. The novel would be enjoyable to pretty much all readers but I am just recommending it to some. If you have read this book/think you'll like it, then I would also recommend all the other books in this series, such as Among the Hidden, Among the Imposters, Among the Free, etc. this is my review of the novel, Among the Brave.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I love the Shadow Children books, so when I got to this one, I was a tad dissappointed. I stopped reading the series about halfway through this book. For me, it was a little slow and hard to understand at times. The rest of the series was written very straight-forward. However, I feel that this book was unique. It has some ups and downs to it. I encourage readers to finish this series and not stop like I did after this book. If you don't understand it, try to ask a friend or someone who has read the book for help like I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, Among the Brave, is by far the best book in the shadow children series that I have read so far. I found myself many times predicting what I thought would happen and then finding it being completely wrong. For instance when they were driving away from the population police headquarters and mark was still in the cage, they were talking about whether or not they believed the guard and I had thought that after that they would not have gone and picked up the guard's friend or at least attempted to. I also liked the fact that the author made Trey always think of himself as being cowardice, when he was actually extremely brave. The only part of the book that I would have changed is the part where the mob attacked their truck. It seemed a little corny that these people who are starving could flip a car over twice. Although that part was kind of corny, I liked how the author used it as a way to free Mark and yet keep him from his full athletic ability. -Brandon M
Guest More than 1 year ago
Among the Brave is a great book to read. It has mystery, deception, and action. It starts out with Trey, one of the kids from the previous books, with papers he must deliver to Mr. Talbolt but the thing is Trey has Agro-phobia and hates even looking outside let alone being there and when a secret organization called the population police come and take Mr. Talbolt away its up trey to get him back . With the help of Matthew Garner, Luke Garner¿s oldest brother, will they succeed or fail? I liked this book very much it shows that even if you think you can¿t do something if you never give up you can accomplish anything. It had a really solid storyline and really isn¿t confusing at all. It is pretty slow at the beginning but aren¿t all books? I couldn¿t really relate to anyone in the book. But I know how it feels to think you¿ve tried everything but at the last minute you find something that renews your hope. This is book five in a series of seven called the shadow children series. I really suggest you read the first four books before you read this one though because it could get confusing. I think that this book would entertain any age group from seventh grade on up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to
BNAGY51 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Awesome book in the series!
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the aftermath of a crisis that threatens the safety of all shadow children ¿ illegal third-borns in a society that allows only two children per family ¿ Trey's friends expect him to take charge ¿ a function he doesn't want or think he can do.Trey's new role leads him to travel with Luke Garner's brother, Mark, to Population Police headquarters. There he impersonates an officer to try to rescue Luke, who has been taken prisoner. The nonstop adventure puts all three boys in danger and risks exposing the underground movement to help all shadow children.In this, the fifth book in the Shadow Children series, Margaret Peterson Haddix returns to the futuristic setting and compelling characters she created in Among the Hidden. With an adrenaline-fueled plot and surprising twists, Haddix has again crafted a story that is suspenseful until the last page.
sports-star on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is book 5 of the shadow children series. It is about a boy named Trey who risks his life many times to save his friends from the Population Police. After being left by a limo, crawling through air ducts in the enemies base, and almost being killed, he is ready for home. This book is very action packed.
curtis12345 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this is one of the best books ever
PaulWW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Can you be a coward, and still be brave? More Shadow Children excellance from MP Haddix!!
t1bclasslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Trey suddenly finds that he is the only one of his friends to escape, and suddenly Luke¿s brother, Mark, has decided to drag him along on a rescue mission. Trey is terrified, but through a tough rescue mission, he finds his own bravery and saves all his friends... and Mr. Talbot, too.
jreams10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about Trey and Mark trying to find Lee, Nina, John and Joel who captured by the Poulaction Police. Trey and Mark go through some diffuclties and serious pain. In the book, Mr. Talbot also gets captured by the poulaction police. if you want to know more READ IT!!!
LAteacher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this series (Shadow Children) because it is fun solving the mystery parts as I read. This is about Luke surviving. The police are after him and want to capture him. I think kids who are in grades six and seven, boys and girls, would like this book.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Trey must get his friends out of jail after the government is taken over by the population police.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Trey has always considered himself a coward. Then why is it that it is he who saved Luke’s life when the chandelier fell killing Mr. and Mrs. Grant. The Shadow Children story continues, the story of society in which third children are illegal and are kept hidden. Trey stars in this book, as he makes his way, out-witting the Population Police, in order to save Lee and his friends who have been captured. This is another awesome book in the series, one that shows children that you can still be brave, even though you don’t feel brave. Bravery, after all, is doing the right thing, in spite of the fear. The exciting plot and well-developed characters make this a great story.