Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Kirsty Applebaum - The Middler - Book Review (Nosy Crow) Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Heading out into the literary world on 4th April 2019 will be Kirsty Applebaum's debut book, The Middler. The book (published by Nosy Crow Books) supports a brilliant book cover image designed by Nicola Theobald which features the fantastic artwork by art director/illustrator Matt Saunders. This striking design will certainly help to set this book apart from the many other great books being published this coming April. We are certainly in for a literary treat or two.

The story is told from the perspective of eleven-year-old Maggie who introduces you to her home in Fennis Wick. It's a settlement isolated and protected from the outside world by a boundary beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam. The plot starts to set the brain ticking by asking the questions regarding what lies ahead. What we find is a story full of lies and propaganda which soon turns into a web of mystery and intrigue. The book gives a timeless feeling to it. It's hard to distinguish when and where the story is actually set - past/future? However, this definitely captures the imagination and attention of the reader.

This story is brilliantly written and well developed middle-grade children's book that will appeal to a wide reading audience for a number of reasons. Maggie the main character is bold, daring and very endearing. She is a middler, a muddler and not very important. Her older brother Jed is special, as the oldest his destiny is to go and fight in the Quiet War. Whilst her younger brother, Trig, has been written very realistically. He is loved by everyone, naive and a little bit soppy. All of the characters depict a family unit who are caring, full of love and looking for, hopefully, a safe future. 

However, one hot September day, Maggie meets Una. She's a hungry wanderer girl in need of help. Maggie's life changes forever as she begins to realise that things weren't quite what she'd been led to believe. The story takes you on an ambling adventure of forbidden friendship in a world of betrayal and deceit; the lies are unfurled page by page. The narrative is both unsettling and yet thrilling to read. It's a very good book for the inquisitive reader as the questions and intrigue wash over you like little ripples; contracting and expanding as the action unfolds. 

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. As a great classroom read and an entertaining page-turner, what more could you want from a book? 

"I was special." 

"I was a hero." 


"I lost the best friend I ever had."


"I will take you on a journey all you have to do is turn the pages and follow me."  


Check out a preview of the book HERE



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