Among the Brave
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster Books, 2004
This is the fifth book in the Shadow Children Sequence; the first book is Among the Hidden. If you have not read the earlier books, you should probably read them first. This book, and this review, will make very little sense otherwise. If you continue to read, be warned, this review contains spoilers for the earlier books.
This is the second Shadow Children book to move away from Luke; this time, the story follows Trey, one of the boys from Hendricks School. He was not a major character in the earlier books, and you might be forgiven for forgetting him. He is quite and bookish, and somewhat agraphobic, having spent his entire youth locked inside. The story starts shortly after Trey's rather surprising rescue of Luke in Among the Barons. The children from Hendricks School are delivering the papers stolen from the Grants to Mr. Talbot, and Trey has been elected to make the hand off.
Which would be stressful enough, walking unaccompanied and in broad daylight through a Baron neighborhood. But it gets much worse when the Population Police appear to ransack Mr. Talbot's house and take him away in handcuffs, leaving Trey abandoned by his friends and in possession of what are presumably Very Important Papers. Trey isn't completely out of luck though, as Luke's old home is right across the way from Mr. Talbot's mansion. Which brings us to the secondary character of this story, Luke's brother Mark.
Mark is a useful foil to Trey, as he is not only brave, but a bit foolhardy. He convinces Trey to go looking for Luke, and they take off in the family's old pickup truck. Along the way Trey slowly becomes more comfortable going outside, more comfortable talking to strangers, and eventually, comfortable being 'brave'.
This story continues the building of the Third's revolutionary forces, however small, that began in Among the Barons. At the same time, the Population Police rise in power and the battle lines become clearly drawn; there might be other factions involved in the rebellion, but now it is more clearly the Population Police against the world -- which doesn't mean that the Population Police aren't ready and able to win.
This is the first of the Shadow Children books to star a 'minor' character and still be a full and uninterrupted continuation of the central plot-line. It is a roaring success, tying in perfectly with the earlier stories and remaining exciting and on-plot the entire story. Sadly, this is the only book to star Trey (and Mark), but he continues to be an important background character in latter books.
Among the Barons // Among the Brave // Among the Enemy