Publisher: Nosy Crow
In the town of Fennis Wick, there are two rules: eldests go to military camp when they turn 14, and you don’t talk to wanderers: they’re dirty, dangerous and deceitful, or so Maggie’s been told.
Maggie is a middler – a middle child – and she’s sick of it. Eldest children get all the good stuff: the parties, the prizes and the praise, while middlers grow up in the eldests’ shadows. Maggie desperately wants a taste of being an eldest. But the summer that her eldest brother Jed goes off to camp and Maggie meets a wanderer, everything she thought she understood about the world comes crashing down.
Maggie’s just a middler, though, so who’s going to listen when she tries to tell the truth? Maybe if Maggie can catch the wanderer, the townspeople will see that middlers can be heroes too…
This is a wonderfully conceived and slickly executed dystopian novel set in a seemingly idyllic town, but with an undercurrent of secrets to send a shiver down the spine. Maggie is a boiling pot of adolescent emotions, whose jealousy of the eldests leads her to make some challenging choices which have consequences for everyone.