Study Guide

Among the Hidden Chapter 17

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Chapter 17

  • It's a few days until Luke and Jen are able to meet up again. And Luke does not like being kept waiting in suspense. Apparently when you know other people, you worry about their well-being. Imagine that!
  • When they finally get together, Luke asks where she's been. Get this: homegirl gets to leave the house AND go to the mall.
  • The Talbots car has a super secret hiding spot for Jen and once in the city they pretends she's her mother's niece.
  • Jen doesn't stay on topic too long and she quickly confirms to Luke that he technically doesn't exist. How does she know? Well, Jen went all CSI on us and snagged some of Luke's fingerprints to run through a government database, no biggie.
  • But since Luke is now validated as safe, Jen tells him all about the rally and secret chat rooms.
  • She offers him some chip and soda pop which he immediately declares as illegal.
  • Uh, they're illegal too so … if they're going to get wet, might as well go swimming.
  • As Luke is shoving potato chips in his mouth, Jen asks if he ever goes hungry. And honestly, he doesn't.
  • That's lucky. Apparently some shadow children go hungry because their families don't share the rationed food.
  • But since the Garners have gardens and (until the Government took them away) pigs, they always had enough to eat.
  • What shocks Jen the most is that Luke has had meat. And plenty of it! She updates Luke on the Government's plot to make everyone into vegetarians.
  • So, nothing makes her happier than when Luke discloses how his father used to feed unsellable grain to the pigs but now "lets that grain rot in the field" (17.51).
  • Jackpot!
  • Jen rushes to the computer room and immediately posts this information on a Department of Agriculture bulletin board for all the world to see. Or potentially see. If they go looking for it and all.
  • But Luke still doesn't understand why it matters.
  • Simply put, "it's all about food" (17.66). The Population Law is the result of the fear that there wouldn't be enough food to feed everyone. (Which is a big, fat lie, BTdubs.)
  • So, Jen and other shadow children are going protest against the Government in a huge rally until their existence is recognized and made legal.
  • And Jen says Luke can be involved, too. Lucky him.