Among the Enemy (Shadow Children Series #6)

Among the Enemy (Shadow Children Series #6)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix


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Matthias, an illegal third child, is caught in the cross fire between rebels and the Population Police. When he unwittingly saves a Population Police officer, Matthias is brought to Population Police headquarters to train as an officer himself. There he meets Nina, another third-born who enlists his help in a plot to undermine the Population Police. But Matthias is under constant scrutiny, and he has no idea whom he can trust. What can one boy do against a wicked bureaucracy?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689857973
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date: 08/22/2006
Series: Shadow Children Series , #6
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 54,998
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 760L (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

Chapter One

Matthias was sound asleep when the Population Police arrived at Niedler School.

It was the middle of the night, and Matthias was curled up on his narrow cot beside Percy's, in a roomful of narrow cots. It still bothered the boys that Alia couldn't sleep nearby. The cots were the most comfortable beds they'd ever had, but both boys still found themselves jerking awake several times each night, reaching out to protect a little girl who wasn't there.

But no instinct, no premonition alerted them when the Population Police trucks rolled up the school driveway. Matthias and Percy slept through the ominous rumble of the engines, the impatient rapping on the school's front door, the trample of boots in the hall. And then dozens of flashlights were suddenly blazing in their room, and Population Police officers were yelling at them, "Up! Up! Your country demands your service!"

Matthias's life before Niedler School had sometimes required instant alertness, even when awakening from deep sleep. So while the other boys in the room sat up groggily or moaned without opening their eyes — "Huh?" "Wha's happ'ning?" — only Matthias and Percy had the presence of mind to gather up their belongings, to stuff their feet into socks and shoes before the officers herded everyone out of the room.

"Think they're getting the girls, too?" Percy whispered as the press of bodies around them moved down the hall.

"Don't know," Matthias said miserably. He craned his neck, trying to see over the boys in front of him, but they were all too tall. Anyhow, a line of Population Police officers stood beyond them, blocking his view of the other wing of Niedler School.

To distract himself, Matthias crammed a moth-eaten sweater over his head and pulled it down over his pajama top. The sweater was easier to wear than to carry, and it provided some small protection against the chill of the hall. Until the past week, Niedler School had had what Matthias viewed as the greatest luxury ever: central heat. But something had happened a week ago, and now the vents no longer breathed heat, the light switches no longer worked, the bathroom faucets no longer delivered water of any kind. The few teachers who hadn't run away wouldn't or couldn't say what had changed.

"Want to escape?" Percy asked, so quietly that Matthias had to read his friend's lips rather than relying on his ears to register any sound.

"Not without Alia," Matthias whispered back.

The other students were wedged around him so tightly, and the Population Police officers were watching the boys so closely, that Matthias would have laughed at anyone else who suggested escape. But Matthias had no doubt that Percy had already worked out a plan, that he could have spirited himself and Matthias out of the crowd without leaving a trace.

The mass of bodies reached the school's dining hall, and the Population Police let the boys stream in.

"Sit!" the officers ordered, again and again. "Sit!"

They seemed to expect unquestioning obedience, single-minded focus on reaching each designated seat. But Matthias dared to turn his head and look around. He wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when he saw a group of students in nightgowns already sitting on the opposite side of the dining hall. The girls. His heart started to pound when he spotted one small blond head in particular.

"Alia's at the third table from the left," he whispered to Percy. "Facing this way."

"If we crawl under the tables — ," Percy began. But it was too late.

All the boys were seated now, and the top Population Police official — the one who had the most decorations on his uniform, anyway — stepped up to the podium at the front of the room.

"Do you have any food?" he thundered.

Silence. No one dared to answer.

"Are you all mute?" the official raged. "Are you all a pack of imbeciles?"

Mumbles broke out in the crowd. "Uh, no, sir." "No, no, no." "No food, sir." Matthias wasn't sure if all the others lacked the courage to speak loudly or if, like him, they knew better than to draw attention to themselves. But enough students whispered that the message carried to the front of the room.

The Population Police official frowned.

"You," he said, pointing to a timid, frail boy near the podium. "Stand up."

Trembling, the boy rose.

"When was the last time you ate?" the official asked.

"Yesterday?" the boy said. "The day before?"

"You don't know?" the Population Police official asked.

"No, sir. I mean, yes, sir. I mean, I don't know what you count as eating. It's been just broth since — since...last week?"

The Population Police official frowned. His eyes narrowed too, like he was mad that the boy was hungry.

"And what have you done to deserve food?" the official thundered.

The boy cowered, as if fearing that the man's voice alone could knock him over.

"Uh, I'm sorry, sir. I don't know, sir. I just — "

"You have done nothing!" The man's voice was even louder now. No matter how much he wanted to avoid being noticed, Matthias couldn't help flinching. Every child in the room did. Only the Population Police officers stood impassive.

The man raged on.

"You don't deserve to eat! You are a drain on your country's resources!"

The boy seemed to grow smaller and smaller, hunching down to avoid the man's wrath. The man seemed about to hit him but suddenly drew back.

"And yet," he said, his voice turning soft and cunning, "your country has a new leader. A wise, compassionate leader, willing to give you a chance to make up for your uselessness. Would you like that, young man?"

A new leader? Matthias thought. How could that be? His country had had the same leader for as long as he could remember. Baffled, he watched the boy's eager nodding.

"You will work for your Government," the man said soothingly, "and then you will deserve food. Then you will eat." As a final touch, he laid his hand gently on the boy's head, like he was giving him a blessing. Then the man looked out at the whole crowd of students.

"All of you will work," he said. "All of you will eat."

As if on cue, the other Population Police officers began urging the students to their feet, began hurrying them out another door. By working their way diagonally through the crowd, Matthias and Percy were just a few kids behind Alia as they stepped outdoors. But just as they reached her side, a Population Police officer lifted her onto the back of a truck. Turning, the officer muttered, "The little ones won't last a week in the work camp. Why are we bothering?"

"Orders," the man beside him grunted.

Percy and Matthias scrambled up behind Alia, just in time to see another officer sliding a thick fabric strip across her chest and lap.

"You're tying her down?" Matthias asked incredulously.

"It's a seat belt," the officer said. "I'm keeping her safe."

But Matthias heard the clink of the metal latch at the end of the fabric. He saw the officer turn a key before straightening up. Alia wasn't just tied down — she was locked into place.

"You're next," the officer said. "Sit down."

Matthias exchanged a quick glance with Percy, trying to hold an entire conversation with his eyes. What are my other choices?...What do you think I should do?

"I said, sit down!" the officer yelled, giving up all pretense of patience and kindness. He shoved Matthias to the floor of the truck, and Matthias's head hit the wooden wall that surrounded the truck bed. Then the officer slipped a seat belt across Matthias's body as well. Strangely, Matthias didn't hear the clink of the belt locking into place.

"You too," the officer screamed at Percy, shoving him down. "Hey, what's this? No personal possessions allowed."

He'd discovered the bundles of belongings Percy and Matthias had pulled together. He yanked them away and tossed them out the back of the truck, into the dark night.

"Won't we need clothes at the work camp?" Percy dared to ask.

"The Government will provide," the officer said. "The Government will provide everything you need."

Then the officer moved on to the next kid.

"You okay?" Percy whispered.

"I'll live," Matthias said, rubbing the knot that was already forming at the back of his head. "Alia?"

"I'm fine," the little girl said cheerfully. "What's our plan?"

"Cut the seat belts, then jump off the truck when no one's looking," Percy said.

"Sounds good to me," Matthias said.

He reached down into his pocket for his knife. But he'd forgotten: He was still wearing his pajama pants. His knife was in his other pants, in the bundle the Population Police officer had thrown off the truck.

"Percy?" he whispered, trying to keep the panic out of his voice, out of his mind. Surely Percy would have thought to keep his knife with him.

But even in the darkness, Matthias could recognize the look of dismay on Percy's face as Percy, too, shoved his hand down into an empty pocket.

"Alia?" Matthias asked. "Did you have time to bring anything with you when the Population Police came?"

Alia shook her head.

"I was asleep and somebody picked me up," she said. "One of them." She pointed at the Population Police officer shoving kids down near the other side of the truck bed.

Alia's voice was calm, but Matthias thought it must have been terrifying for her to wake up in the arms of her worst enemy.

"So none of us has a knife," Percy muttered, with his usual ability to cut right to the point of a matter.

We're so stupid, Matthias thought. Why weren't we sleeping with our clothes on under our pajamas? Why didn't we have all our tools stuffed in our pockets, all the time? He knew the answer. They'd gone soft, living indoors. They'd started to believe they belonged in central heat, with electricity and hot and cold running water. They'd started to trust in their own safety.

It's all my fault, Matthias thought. He was the oldest. If he'd told the other two to stay on constant alert, they would have.

Angrily, he yanked on the belt holding him in place, straining against the trap he'd been caught in. Amazingly, the belt pulled clean away from the wall.

He was free.

Matthias stared at the unattached metal end of the belt in disbelief. He held it up into the dim light, just inches from his eyes, trying to puzzle out how it'd come apart.

"Matty!" Percy exploded in a low voice. He shoved Matthias's hand down. "Don't let them see."

Matthias hid the metal end of the belt back against the wooden wall. He was thinking again.

"Pull on your belts," he hissed to Percy and Alia. "Maybe they'll come loose too."

But no matter how much Percy and Alia strained and tugged and pulled, their belts stayed firmly locked in place.

The Population Police officers were done loading children onto the truck now. Several children were crying, but no harsh male voices barked orders at them anymore. The sobs floated up toward the dark sky unmixed with any sound except the churning of the trucks' engines. All the officials, Matthias realized, had retreated back to the trucks' cabs.

They were about to drive away.

Percy and Alia seemed to grasp the situation at the same time Matthias did.

"Matt-Matt, go," Alia said, using the name she'd given him back when she was a baby, barely able to talk.

"Save yourself," Percy urged, his voice cracking. "You can't save us."

Matthias looked back and forth between his two closest friends. No — "friends" was much too shallow a word to describe his relationship with Percy and Alia. They were like a brother and a sister who, by some strange accident, happened not to have the same parents. They were as much a part of him as his own arms; he couldn't imagine living without them.

"No," he said. "We stick together. Always."

He slid back against the wooden wall and tucked the broken end of his belt behind his back, hiding his chance at freedom.

Then the truck lurched forward, and it was too late to change his mind.

Copyright © 2005 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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.

Customer Reviews

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Among the Enemy (Shadow Children Series #6) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 145 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this author and i love the books! This book is an awesome thrill and great things on every page!
Don Brown More than 1 year ago
It was so sad and depressing, i felt like i wanted to cry. Margert really makes the. book come alive. she makes me feel like i am the character, and also i feel their emotions too.
Jacob-Brummett More than 1 year ago
This is the 6th book in the series about "shadow children" (illegal third children) and begins with a character change from the last book. The main character is Matthias, a young boy who was living at a special school that was used to disguise shadow children and allow them to live legally. The population police (a group organized to make sure that third children are not allowed to live) came to the school looking for new recruits. As they drove away, Matthias and his friends escaped into the wilderness and began to make their way to the headmaster of another school. Along the way, Alia (a young girl that Matthias grew up with) and Percy (another lifetime friend of Matthias) are injured. As Matthias tries to help them through the woods he decides to leave them in a log cabin and try to find help. Eventually he gets to his destination, but is ambushed upon trying to rescue his friends. He rescues a population police officer who drives him back to their headquarters, not realizing that he is a third child. He signs Matthias up as an officer, and he quickly becomes known to the other members for saving his life. Just as he is getting used to the environment at HQ, the officer he saved dies. During the following weeks he learns how he can save the third children. After awhile he and one of his friends at HQ set out to destroy a warehouse that held the ID cards of the entire country. He blacks out soon after and awakens to being told that everyone is practically free and that he has to go to the cabin he had headed for in the first place. When he arrives he is greeted by his friends and is told that they will recover and then strike back at the population police. This is a great book filled with action and adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope you dont have anywhere to go today because this book is all you will be focused on! I love this series! WARNING! READ THE BOOKS FROM BOOK ONE OR YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND SQUAT....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hilmer Guevara More than 1 year ago
look at the headline i mean come on but you dont get the same effect if u dont read the entire series i did but i kept thinking what would happen if i just skipped the entire series and read this book alone i realize it wouldnt b the same
Ryan Drvenkar More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book
SasquatchMH More than 1 year ago
Introduction: Mathias is a third born child which in this time is illegal! He hides in the shadows and tries to stay and unpopular in school as possible because if they find out he's a third born child he will be killed or inprisoned by the population police. He and his friend Ali have one objective only. To survive so they can stop the population police and their horrors once and for all. Description and summary of main points: During a raid on Mathias's school , in the moment he saves a highly regarded population police commander. The commander is so grateful he takes him to the population police headquarters to train to be an offficer him self. Mathias took advantage of this and decided he could destroy the population police from the inside! While he trains he meets one of his old friends Ninna who inlisted into the population police to help take it down. Mathias is always under constent scrutiny, he has no idea whom he can trust. Evaluation: Margerat Peterson Haddix is an amazing author. She made the scenes in this book with action just thrilling, but she made the scenes without action even better! That takes much talen to do, which most others can't. Margerat Peterson Haddix has much potential and as an author my self I do believe she can do great things in the world of literature. Conclusion: This is an intriging book for almost all ages! Everyone will enjoy this book if you like suspense filled, thrilling tells filled with action and emotion! This book really spoke to me. It was so thrilling I couldn't put it down . It is just one of those books that once you start reading it your hooked until the end. Your final review: I will give this book a 4 out of 5 stars because I do believe she could have made this book a little better, but still this book is amazing and I loved it and I hope u will love it too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. All of Haddix's books are amazing, but this one is my favorite out of the Shadow Children series. My two favorite characters from all of the books were Nina and Matthias. I loved how they worked together in this book. Personally, I would have enjoyed a little bit of romance between the two, I think it would have made the book a little bit more interesting. But, thats just me. Nina becomes a lot more serious in this book. And, unlike Among the betrayed, Nina actually stopped thinking about Jason. Matthias really becomes more aware of the situation as well. Overall, this book is amazing!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The main characters were well detailed and easy to understand. The author painted pictures of how the characters looked by the way she described them. The plot kept me interested with the twists and turns, such as the double-agents. The details of the settings could have been better, they felt boring. The different setting could have been more throughly detailed, such as colors, locations, and sounds. I would suggest this book to a student who likes suspense and and action. A person who likes drama may also enjoy this novel. A person who only reads sports books or likes boring, happy books, may not like this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Trey is left to fend for himself after the limo driver decides to drive away. He goes to Luke¿s house expecting to find Luke but, he only found Mark. Trey and Mark decide to go out into the war torn land to find Luke and his friends. They are challenged repeatedly at everything they do. When Mark is captured Trey is left on his own. What will Trey do? Find out in the fast pace adventure. I liked the book really well. The book had good rhythm and action. This book is part of a series called The Among Series. The books shouldn¿t be read out of order. The book doesn¿t remind me off any television show or movie. A girl or a boy would enjoy this book. The age would be about ten to sixteen years old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate reading, but this series and the lost children serise got me back on i cant belive i read book 5in one night. Thats a record for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the beggining 5 of this series and I have heard TONS of good reveiws for this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! Its inly the begginning of the school year and I already read it. I spent 3 hrs reading it on the weekend and I'm only 11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series so much and Mathias is my favorite character. Percy and Alia are cool too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have not read this book or amonge the free but sense i read the other's i beat this and among the free is of the chang
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am writing my book review on Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In this story, Matthew, who is an illegal third child, has to find medicine for his brother and sister. On his way, he sees a Population Police officer, who is supposed to find and kill third children. To stay alive, Matthew says that he is going to sign up for the Population Police and the officer takes him to their headquarters. He then meets other third children that are working there to sabotoge the Population Police from the inside and decides to help, while still trying to help his siblings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best books I've ever read. I mean, I've read every single Shadow Children's Book except for the 7th one. I cannot wait to read it. This book though, was full of THRILL, EXCITEMENT, DREAD, and it keeps you HOOKED. It did for me. I just got it yesterday morning and i finished it today around 3. I love her books, and The Shadow Children Series is my favorite series I've ever read. Read them You won't regret it :]
Guest More than 1 year ago
The long awaited book from Margaret Haddix Peterson has finally arrived! The next book in the ¿Among The Hidden¿ stories, also referred as the Shadow Children Stories, is the best one yet! The story goes to the life of Matthias, Percy, and Alia, illegal third children who¿ve been abandoned. They try to keep hidden from Population Police, who pledge to kill any illegal third child and anyone else who tries to stop them. With the help of Nina, another third child, the trio were able to escape a prison. With the help of Mr. Talbot, a former-population police officer who wanted to sabotage it who also had a third child that sacrificed her life to organize a protest against the population police, Mr. Hendricks who ran a school of illegals and Trey, an older third child, will they be able to do it again? Although this book may be extremely fast moving it could be a good thing since because of it every second in full of suspense. At his new school, Matthias was awakened to another surprise, although he was used to surprises. Population Police had arrived at his school to take away all the children. The officers however, spoke about them ¿having another chance¿ and there being a new president that gives third children another chance. Matthias, Percy and Alia find out they¿re being sent to a work camp and knew they had to escape even quicker than before. He was able to find a nail and get himself and Alia past the strap around them but there wasn't enough time to get Percy out. Hoping it would stall time, he threw it in an opening to a tire. At first it seemed like he threw away his only piece of fate left, but then the truck crashed into a tree. Alia was unconscious and hit in the head by a tree as others lay in pain. Worrying about Alia Matthias grabs her and Percy and escapes. Matthias came across a log cabin but when he walked toward it he heard gunshots and Percy had disappeared. It was a battle between Population Police ¿rebels¿ or people who protest against the Population police and the police themselves. After killing the 16 rebels and securing the cabin they left, Percy still nowhere to be seen. Past all the blood in the cabin was a small trapped door which Matthias though was nothing. It turned out to be a secret compartment and while looking for medicine, Matthias finds the fake i.d.s the rebels were hiding. He leaves Alia and his friend Percy who was shot in the crossfire to find Mr. Talbot and Hendricks miles away. When he finally made it and drove back to the cabin, his friends were gone but instead he found a man in the tree giving him signals to leave. At that same moment 3 population police officers were shot and Matthias accidentally saved the third one and drove away. The officer happened to be high ranking and like a son to the commander. Without thinking, Matthias responds to Ted¿s question with ¿I came to join the population police,¿ and Ted made sure to tell the commander. The story got out quick and on his first day of sabotage he was the most popular officer-in-training there. The food they had there was amazing but the thing that caught his eye was Nina, working with the kitchen. They had secret meetings in a silver bathroom and when Ted finds him there, he dies of a poisoned fake i.d. he had confiscated. While the commander thinks Matthias mourns for Ted he actually mourns for the only thing that gave him hope, the things that are now dead, Alia and Percy. Eventually he gets his spirit back and makes plans with Nina as soon as he hears about two projects that will be able to tell a real or fake i.d. just by scanning it. He and other officers who joined to sabotage Population Police headquarters go to a warehouse where the i.d.s were kept. They planned to blow it up but Matthias figured out why the rebels didn¿t already plant a bomb: They kept all the food in the same warehouse. The only option is to sneak in and take the food, then get out before the place blows! For those of you who have already read ot
Guest More than 1 year ago
The third children and all of their allies are getting closer to their freedom! This is a MUST READ in the series!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the books in the Shadow Children Series and they are GREAT! Each book keeps on edge and makes you feel like you are one of the characters in the books. If you start reading a book you dont want to read it for a couple of days and then wait for a couple of weeks to read it somemore,because these books are the kind of books that you need to go right through. The Shadow Children Books arent only for children but can also be read by adults. My teacher has gotten almost all of my peers to read these books and most of them have found them appealing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
t1bclasslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book follows Matthias, who, has been forced to join the population police. He's upset about the way things have gone, and afraid to do anything, but when he gets his courage, he stops a plot to uncover all the third children. He discovers he has skills he didn't know he had.