Maggie is a middler, worst luck. Jed was born first and is destined for great things once he gets to The Camp to help fight the Quiet War. Trig was born last and is the baby. But Maggie Middler? There’s no great destiny, no prizes, nothing. Just the knowledge that her life is laid out for her, a life toiling in the fields, probably.
When she ventures close to the border of her town, she encounters a wanderer – the type of person she has been brought up to believe are dirty, deceitful and dangerous. She seizes her chance to make a name for herself, to show she can be just as courageous as a First.
As mesmerising as it is menacing, The Middler is dark, dystopian fiction full of family, friendship and finding truths. Kirsty Applebaum creates a sinister, shadowy world built on propaganda and greed. The characters inhabiting her small town world are at best friendly, trusting and loyal, and at worst greedy, corrupt liars.
It was compelling watching Maggie break the rules and learn the truth of her existence. There is much to learn from Maggie’s tale for those brave enough to question their beliefs and search for the truth behind them.
This is middle grade dystopian fantasy at its finest, and much better suited to primary readers than The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner. I very much look forward to more from Kirsty Applebaum in the future. As a huge fan of Margaret Atwood, this is exactly the kind of book I’d have wanted as a child.
Huge thanks to ReadingZone, where this review was first published, and Nosy Crow for sending me a copy for review. Do check out the other fabulous books that have been reviewed on their site.