Overview of the Story
Luke Garner is a 12-year-old boy who is a third child, illegal to exist in his government. He must spend his life in hiding, fearful of being caught by the Population Police. He cannot be near a window, for fear of being seen. What would happen to Luke and his family if he were seen? One day his life changes when he meets another third child, Jen, his next door neighbor. She gives him the courage to change his life, and maybe the life of all illegal third children.
There is no specific time or place named in the story, but we can guess that it takes place in the near future in an American society. The government has turned totalitarian and forces its citizens to follow some strict laws, one of which is that each family may only have two children. This law was created because of a food shortage some years before. This law is strictly enforced by the Population Police.
Mr. Garner: Luke’s father, hardworking, man of few words, very strict
Mrs. Garner: Luke’s mother, sensitive to Luke’s feelings, hardworking
Matthew Garner: oldest brother, 15 years old, dark hair, tough-looking
Mark Garner: middle brother, 14 years old, dark hair, tough-looking
Luke Garner: youngest brother, 12 years old, fair hair, small, soft-looking, a third child
Jen Talbot: Luke’s neighbor, a third child, strong-willed, knows a lot about the real world
George Talbot: Jen’s father, a wealthy baron, top official of the Population Police