The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum

How far would you go to stand up for what is right? With twists and turns, mysteries to unfold and a wonderful female lead who feels the fear and does it anyway, The Middler is a fantastic middle grade introduction to dystopian stories.

“I was special. I was a hero. I lost the best friend I ever had.”

Eleven-year-old Maggie lives in Fennis Wick, enclosed and protected from the outside world by a boundary, beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam.

Her brother Jed is an eldest, revered and special. A hero. Her younger brother is Trig – everyone loves Trig. But Maggie’s just a middler; invisible and left behind. Then, one hot September day, she meets Una, a hungry wanderer girl in need of help, and everything Maggie has ever known gets turned on its head.

Narrated expertly and often hilariously by Maggie, we experience the trials and frustrations of being the forgotten middle child, the child with no voice, even in her own family.

This gripping story of forbidden friendship, loyalty and betrayal is perfect for fans of Malorie Blackman, Meg Rosoff and Frances Hardinge.

The Middler isn't about being brave, it focuses more on an innate sense of justice and standing up for what you believe in to the best of your ability. A story for our times, it looks at the importance of seeing the world through others' eyes, the misguided abuse of power and the importance of questioning authority. It is about celebrating our skills and our individuality and embracing diversity.

We were entirely entranced.