Among the Brave
Goodreads ratings
4.15 / 5

"Among the Brave" Summary

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

young adult | 256 pages | Published in NaN

A Reluctant HeroTrey may have saved Luke's life, but he still thinks of himself as a coward who can barely stand to be outdoors. Now Trey finds out Luke has been taken prisoner at Population Police headquarters. Trey is terrified, but he knows that if he doesn't rescue his friend, no one will.At police headquarters, Trey impersonates an officer to try getting to Luke. But just when it looks like he's close, Trey suddenly finds himself in danger of exposing not just himself but all shadow children.


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

After being discovered as a third child and narrowly escaping death, Trey joins a group of other hidden children to fight against the oppressive government in a dystopian society.


"Among the Brave" by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a captivating young adult novel that delves into themes of bravery, resilience, and the fight for freedom. This book is part of the "Shadow Children" series and follows the story of a young boy named Trey as he navigates a society where third children are forbidden. Set in a dystopian future, the novel explores the struggles of individuals who dare to defy an oppressive government and the courage it takes to stand up for what is right.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is set in a future society where the Population Police strictly enforce the rule of allowing only two children per family. Anyone found to be a third child is subject to severe punishment or even death. Trey, the protagonist, is a third child who has spent most of his life in hiding. After witnessing the execution of his friend Mark, Trey is determined to take a stand against the oppressive regime. The novel unfolds in a world where fear and secrecy dominate, and Trey finds himself caught in the midst of a daring rescue mission and a battle for justice.

Main Characters

The novel features several key characters who play significant roles in the story. Here are the main characters and brief descriptions of each:

TreyThe protagonist, a brave third child who becomes involved in a mission to save imprisoned children
NinaTrey's older sister who is also a third child and a key figure in the resistance movement
Mr. TalbotA sympathetic teacher who supports Trey and the other third children in their fight for freedom
Lee GrantA skilled pilot and a crucial ally in the mission to rescue imprisoned children
Mrs. TalbotMr. Talbot's wife who provides guidance and support to Trey and the other children

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: The Discovery

In the opening chapters, Trey witnesses the execution of his friend Mark, which ignites a fire within him to take action against the oppressive government. He meets Nina, who introduces him to a group of third children and a teacher, Mr. Talbot, who is sympathetic to their cause.

Chapter 6-10: The Plan

As Trey becomes more involved in the resistance movement, he learns about a secret prison where third children are being held captive. With the help of Nina, Mr. Talbot, and a skilled pilot named Lee Grant, Trey hatches a daring plan to rescue the imprisoned children.

Chapter 11-15: The Rescue Mission

The group sets their plan into motion, facing numerous challenges and dangers along the way. They must evade the Population Police and navigate through treacherous terrain to reach the prison and free the imprisoned children.

Chapter 16-20: The Showdown

As the rescue mission unfolds, Trey and his allies find themselves in a tense showdown with the Population Police. The stakes are high, and the group's bravery and determination are put to the ultimate test as they fight for the freedom of the imprisoned children.

Main Events

The novel is filled with intense and pivotal events that drive the plot forward and shape the characters' destinies:

Witnessing Mark's ExecutionTrey's life takes a dramatic turn when he witnesses the execution of his friend, sparking his determination to fight against the oppressive regime
Forming the Rescue Mission PlanTrey, Nina, Mr. Talbot, and Lee Grant come together to devise a plan to rescue imprisoned third children, risking their lives for the greater good
Infiltrating the Secret PrisonThe group embarks on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the secret prison where third children are being held, facing numerous obstacles along the way
Confrontation with the Population PoliceA tense showdown ensues as Trey and his allies confront the Population Police in a daring attempt to secure the freedom of the imprisoned children

Themes and Insights


"Among the Brave" explores several profound themes that resonate with readers of all ages:

  1. Bravery and Courage: The novel highlights the bravery of individuals who stand up against injustice, risking their lives to fight for freedom.
  2. Resilience and Determination: The characters demonstrate unwavering resilience and determination in the face of adversity, inspiring readers to persevere in the pursuit of justice.
  3. Freedom and Oppression: The contrast between freedom and oppression is a central theme, shedding light on the impact of oppressive regimes on individuals and society.


The novel offers insightful reflections on the human experience, the power of unity, and the indomitable spirit of those who refuse to be silenced in the face of tyranny.

Reader's Takeaway

"Among the Brave" leaves readers with a profound sense of the importance of courage, resilience, and the fight for freedom. The story serves as a powerful reminder of the human capacity for bravery and determination in the face of adversity, inspiring readers to stand up for what is right and just.


In conclusion, "Among the Brave" by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that immerses readers in a world of oppression, courage, and the pursuit of freedom. Through its engaging plot, well-developed characters, and resonant themes, the book offers a compelling narrative that captivates and inspires readers of all ages. As readers journey alongside Trey and his allies, they are reminded of the enduring power of bravery and the unwavering spirit of those who dare to defy the odds.

Among the Brave FAQ

  1. What is 'Among the Brave' about?

    Among the Brave is the fifth book in the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It follows the story of a group of kids who are fighting against a totalitarian government that only allows two children per family. The main character, Trey, must navigate through danger and deception as he joins the fight for freedom.

  2. Do I need to read the previous books in the series to understand 'Among the Brave'?

    While it is recommended to read the previous books in the series to fully understand the characters and the world they live in, 'Among the Brave' can still be enjoyed as a standalone book.

  3. What age group is 'Among the Brave' suitable for?

    The book is suitable for readers aged 8-12, but older readers who enjoy young adult dystopian fiction may also find it engaging.

  4. Is 'Among the Brave' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Among the Brave' is part of the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It is the fifth book in the series.

  5. Does 'Among the Brave' have any mature content?

    The book deals with themes of government oppression and rebellion, but it is written for a middle-grade audience and does not contain mature content.