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The Middler

The Middler

Author Kirsty Applebaum




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“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.

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Listen to the first chapter

What the Critics said

“This is a quirky, original adventure about friendship and loyalty, betrayal and trust, kindness and greed, told as Maggie’s vibrant narrative, with striking characters and a happy ending in which all siblings are equal.”

– Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times, Children’s Book of the Week

“I thought I’d almost reached my fill of dystopian novels, but Kirsty Applebaum… has rebooted the genre. The plot pulls you along and I liked Maggie more and more as she grew in courage.”

– Alex O’Connell, The Times, Children’s Book of the Week

“Maggie, a worthless Middler, learns to fight back for what’s right in this brilliant story of forbidden friendship, betrayal and deceit.”

– Mel Darbon, author of Rosie Loves Jack

“[P]age-turning masterful middle-grade!”

– Tracy Darnton, author of The Truth About Lies

“This unusual and exciting story is a thought-provoking tale about forbidden friendship, thinking for yourself, and he importance of standing up for what’s right.”

– The Week Junior, Book of the Week

“Applebaum explores themes of family, friendship, loyalty and betrayal in an assured debut.”

 The Bookseller

“As mesmerising as it is menacing, The Middler is dark, dystopian fiction full of family, friendship and finding truths […]This is middle grade dystopian fantasy at its finest.”

 Reading Zone

“[I] was completely won over by Kirsty Applebaum’s exciting debut. This is dystopian fiction for middle grade readers with an understanding of what matters to children; family, friendship and being valued.”

– Anne Thompson, A Library Lady (blog)

“This is a fantastic book to read – funny, thought-provoking, tragic but also uplifting. It’s an expertly crafted family story about thinking for yourself and standing up for what is right.”

 Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books (blog)

“A dystopian story about lies, deceit, families, friendships and siblings…  Simply one of the best books I have read in ages.”

 Sue and Pakka (blog)

“I thought this concept sounded fascinating just from the synopsis, and the execution is even better; it was such an interesting world to spend time in and I thought the worldbuilding was superbly done in every way imaginable.”

 Golden Books Girl (blog)

“Brilliantly told, full of twists and turns this tale is a feast for your imagination with it’s highly believable dystopian world.”

 Book Lover Jo (blog)

“Told through the powerful voice of middle-child Maggie, this is a truly wonderful narrative that will resonate with many young readers today.”

 Books for Topics (blog)

“This story had me hooked right from the start… Kirsty has skilfully woven a tale where the tension and pace slowly ratchet up page after page, with an ending that will leave you breathless and begging for a sequel!”

 Library Girl and Book Boy (blog)

“A gripping story about friendship, truth and breaking boundaries told in a powerful, original and authentic eleven-year-old voice.”

 Madge Eekal Reviews (blog)

“The book feels fresh and timeless, and speaks to our current zeitgeist of children standing up and questioning ‘received truth’, and then making a difference in the world.”

 Minerva Reads (blog)

“This debut from Kirsty Applebaum has a timeless classic vibe that feels reminiscent of Little house on the Prarie, focusing on roles within families, the bonds between siblings and the power society holds over individuals.”

– Book Bound (blog)

“I was completely absorbed in this plot. I actually finished the book in two days. I was rooting for Maggie all the way.”

– Vivienne Dacosta, Serendipity Reviews (blog)

“The Middler’ is a dystopian thriller, with enough menace to keep you awake at night and enough heart to keep you hoping and questioning until its marvellous conclusion.”

 Chris Soul (blog)

Rights Sold

US English, French, Czech, Russian, Korean, Turkish, Spanish

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