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Among the Impostors
Cover of Among the Impostors
Among the Impostors
Shadow Children Series, Book 2
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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...
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...
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  • 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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Chapter One

    Sometimes he whispered his real name in the dark, in the middle of the night.

    "Luke. My name is Luke."

    He was sure no one could hear. His roommates were all asleep, and even if they weren't, there was no way the sound of his name could travel even the short distance to the bed above or beside him. He was fairly certain there were no bugs on him or in his room. He'd looked. But even if he'd missed seeing a microphone hidden in a mattress button or carved into the headboard, how could a microphone pick up a whisper he could barely hear himself?

    He was safe now. Lying in bed, wide awake while everyone else slept, he reassured himself of that fact constantly. But his heart pounded and his face went clammy with fear every time he rounded his lips for that "u" sound -- instead of the fake smile of the double "e" in Lee, the name he had to force himself to answer to now.

    It was better to forget, to never speak his real name again.

    But he'd lost everything else. Even just mouthing his name was a comfort. It seemed like his only link now to his past, to his parents, his brothers.

    To Jen.

    By day, he kept his mouth shut.

    He couldn't help it.

    That first day, walking up the stairs of the Hendricks School for Boys with Jen's father, Luke had felt his jaw clench tighter and tighter the closer he got to the front door.

    "Oh, don't look like that," Mr. Talbot had said, pretending to be jolly. "It's not reform school or anything."

    The word stuck in Luke's brain. Reform. Re-form. Yes, they were going to re-form him. They were going to take a Luke and make him a Lee.

    It was safe to be Lee. It wasn't safe to be Luke.

    Jen's father stood with his hand on the ornate doorknob, waiting for a reply. But Luke couldn't have said a word if his life depended on it.

    Jen's father hesitated, then pulled on the heavy door. They walked down a long hallway. The ceiling was so far away, Luke thought he could have stood his entire family on his shoulders -- one on top of the other, Dad and Mother and Matthew and Mark -- and the highest one still would barely touch. The walls were lined, floor to ceiling, with old paintings of people in costumes Luke had never seen outside of books.

    Of course, there was very little he'd ever seen outside of books.

    He tried not to stare, because if he really were Lee, surely everything would look familiar and ordinary. But that was hard to remember. They passed a classroom where dozens of boys sat in orderly rows, everyone facing away from the door. Luke gawked for so long that he practically began walking backwards. He'd known there were a lot of people in the world, but he'd never been able to imagine so many all in one place at the same time. Were any of them shadow children with fake identities, like Luke?

    Jen's father clapped a hand on his shoulder, turning him around.

    "Ah, here's the headmaster's office," Mr. Talbot said heartily. "Just what we were looking for."

    Luke nodded, still mute, and followed him through a tall doorway.

    A woman sitting behind a mammoth wood desk turned their way. She took one look at Luke and asked, "New boy?"

    "Lee Grant," Jen's father said. "I spoke with the master about him last night."

    "It's the middle of the semester, you know," she said warningly. "Unless he's very well prepared, he shan't catch up, and might have to repeat -- "

    "That won't be a problem," Mr. Talbot assured her. Luke was glad he didn't have to speak for himself. He knew he wasn't well prepared. He wasn't prepared for anything.

    The woman was already reaching for files and papers.

    "His parents faxed in his medical information and his insurance standing and his academic records last night,"...

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 HaddixBooks.com.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books Ms. Hughes - I have started reading this with some of my classes. Wow! It is getting exciting!! Luke who has taken the identity of Lee Grant has been sent to an all boys boarding school. But, the school is definitely not what it appears to be! Secret doors, boys who appear with different names, no class schedules? What is wrong with this school? Will Luke (Lee) get the chance to change the world? I am anxious to see what is going to happen!!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 9, 2002
    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," wrote PW, "this installment gets mired in too many confusing details." Ages 9-14.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 11, 2001
    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.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Shadow Children Series, Book 2
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