Luke is one of the Shadow Children; the 3rd child born in a family. In this futuristic world, overpopulation has caused mass starvation and famines. To alleviate these issues, the government has forbidden many things: pets, junk food, and more than two children per family.
Luke is forced to hide day after day in the attic looking out vents at the world he can't be a part of in any form. Life changes for Luke when he discovers another third child hiding in the house behind his house.
After breaking into her house and a few minutes of danger, Luke and Jen become best friends. Like the best friendships, the two are opposites. Where Luke is fearful and timid, Jen is defiant and strong-willed.
Jen is planning a rally where thousands of shadow children will walk in front of the president's house to free the children. Luke must decide if he is willing to risk his life for his freedom.
Since this was our last book of the year, I let my students vote on the book they wanted to read. The kids loved it! They couldn't wait to read everyday. They got very attached to the characters, so much so that one chapter brought many of the girls to tears. It also led us to great discussions about food shortages, world population, and the One Child Policy in China.
It is a great book for reluctant readers, but they will need some scaffolding on the underlying issues in the book about Totalitarianism, government control, overpopulation and what people will do for their freedom.
I loved this book and plan to read the sequel because I need to know what happens to Luke. I love this kid!