In this anticipated sequel to Awaken, Middle Ground picks up with Maddie living with her brother in Los Angeles. The year is 2060. She's supposed to be in a detention facility, but her father has used his powers to do some fancy paperwork to make it look like she is. While Maddie is happy in LA, she misses her boyfriend Justin, who is working at intercepting other kids on their way to the detention facilities and inviting them to join their cause. It's their biggest goal to get rid of DS, digital school, a program that Maddie's father created.
They believe that kids should have the choice of online school or public school. They should be able to go out and meet friends face to face and get sun on their faces without everything being digitalized. But DS keeps kids safe and controlled, and those that run it will do whatever it takes to make sure it runs properly.
When Maddie goes to a virtual club with her brother and some friends, she can't help herself but try and show the kids the way things could be. All it does is get her into trouble and before long, someone is knocking at her door and she's on the way to the detention center for rehabilitation. This time, Justin and her friends can't get her out. What happens behind the locked doors in the center is horrific - they want the kids to be controlled and realize that it's not safe outside and they will do whatever it takes to get that through their heads. Maddie tries to endure but she can't do it alone.
Middle Grade is a great second installment in this series! Maddie and Justin's relationship is still moving along, but it has it's struggles. Especially since her father created DS and he leads the group that wants to demolish it. In a world where we all rely on so much technology, Kacvinsky's series puts things a bit in perspective. There has to be balance, and in her world, there isn't. I really empathized with Maddie and her plight, she made some good and bad choices. I also enjoyed getting to know Justin more in this installment. The book ends satisfactory, no horrid cliffhanger, but it does allude to another book in the series. I can't wait!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.