Middle Grade Dystopian Fiction

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell

I am how I’ve always been. My name is Auden Dare. I am eleven years old. Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He’s always had this rare condition – and life is beginning to get harder for Auden. The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. It hardly rains any more, anywhere. Everyone is thirsty all the time, and grubby, and exhausted. Auden has to learn to live without his father, who is away fighting, and has had to move to a new town with his mother, and start a new school, where everyone thinks he’s a weirdo. But when he meets Vivi Rookmini, a smiling girl bright with cleverness, his hopes begin to lift. It soon becomes clear to Auden, though, that there are some strange things afoot in his new hometown. He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom – a scientist and professor at the university. The place is in disarray – and although Auden’s mother tells him it’s because Jonah was a messy old thing, Auden knows differently. Someone else did this – someone who was looking for something of Jonah’s. Auden had heard too that Jonah was working on something that could cure Auden’s condition – could this be it? Then Auden and Vivi make an extraordinary discovery. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah’s garden is an enigmatic and ingenious robot, who calls himself Paragon. A talking, walking, human-like robot. Apparently built by Jonah – but why? The answer to this will take Auden and Vivi on a thrilling journey of discovery as they seek to find out just what exactly Paragon is – and what link he has to Auden – and find that the truth is bigger and more wonderful than either of them could have imagined.

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia, Robots

Published by Piccadilly Press / Feiwel & Friends (out now)

Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold

Juniper Greene lives in a walled city from which nature has been banished, following the outbreak of a deadly man-made disease many years earlier. While most people seem content to live in such a cage, she and her little brother Bear have always known about their resistance to the disease, and dream of escaping into the wild. To the one place humans have survived outside of cities. To where their mother is.

When scientists discover that the siblings provide the key to fighting the disease, the pair must flee for their lives. As they cross the barren Buffer Zone and journey into the unknown, Juniper and Bear can only guess at the dangers that lie ahead. Nature can be cruel as well as kind… Will they ever find the home they’ve been searching for? 

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia

Published by Little Tiger Press (out now)

FloodWorld by Tom Huddleston

Kara and Joe spend their days navigating the perilous waterways of a sunken city, scratching out a living in the ruins. But when they come into possession of a mysterious map, they find themselves in a world of trouble. Suddenly everyone’s after them: gangsters, cops and ruthless Mariner pirates in their hi-tech submarines. The two children must find a way to fight back before Floodworld’s walls come tumbling down…

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia

Published by Nosy Crow (out now)

Crowfall by Vashti Hardy

Cast out from the clockwork island of Ironhold, where mechanical technology controls everything, Orin Crowfall finds himself adrift on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. As Orin and his robot friend Cody struggle to make sense of the events that brought them here, the one thing they know for sure is that Ironhold is in trouble. They need to get back, whatever the cost. Plagued by perilous seas and freak storms, and with a terrifying sea monster on their tail, Orin soon realises their journey won’t be easy. It will take courage and strength, trusting in new friends and embracing the spirit of adventure, if Orin wants to save his home.

Categories: Middle Grade, Ocean, Ecology

Published by Scholastic (July 2021)

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

Categories: Middle Grade, Animals, Dystopia, Fantasy

Published by Viking Books (out now)

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble

Neoma and Jag and their small community are ‘living gentle lives’ on high ground surrounded by the risen sea. When strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive unannounced, the two friends find themselves drawn into a web of secrecy and lies that endangers their whole way of life. Soon daring, loyal, Neoma must set off on a solo mission across the risen sea, determined to rescue her best friend and find the truth that will save their village.

In a post climate change affected world, this adventure with sinkholes, crocodiles, sharks, pirates, floating cities, vertical farms and a mystery to solve poses the question of how we will all live ‘afterwards’. Will kindness and a sense of community win over selfish greed to preserve our planet – and humanity?

Categories: Middle Grade, Dystopia, Ocean

Published by Old Barn Books (out now)

Moojag and the Auticode Secret by N.E. McMorran

If Nema can’t uncover a lost boy’s true identity in time they may never escape the sticky world he designed…

When Nema and her friends discover a hidden sugar-hooked society holding lost kids, they find their perfect world in danger. The strange, sticky place hides the truth about Nema’s missing brother, and a plot to destroy the free life she knows. But only they can reverse a code to prevent a rock candy robot invasion and rescue the captives. Fail and they might never make it back home.

Moojag and the Auticode Secret is a quirky, Alice-esque cli-fi adventure featuring diverse characters, set in the utopian ‘Real World’ of post-catastrophe ‘Surrey Isles’, Britain 2054, where neurodivergents live in harmony with nature and technology. A story about identity and finding the strength to be your true self, for readers 10 years and up.

Categories: Middle Grade, neurodiverse, utopia-dystopia, clifi fantasy adventure

Published by Spondylux Press (out now)

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