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Maggot Moon
by Sally Gardner and Julian Crouch

Overview - A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
In Sally Gardner's stunning novel, set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing.
What if the football hadn't gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret.
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More About Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner; Julian Crouch
 
 
 
Overview
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
In Sally Gardner's stunning novel, set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing.
What if the football hadn't gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn't want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell -- who has different-colored eyes, who "can't read, can't write, Standish Treadwell isn't bright" -- sees things differently than the rest of the "train-track thinkers." So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it's big...One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780763665531
  • ISBN-10: 0763665533
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
  • Publish Date: February 2013
  • Page Count: 288
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-UP

Series: Michael L. Printz Award - Honor Title(s)

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - Military & Wars
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Issues - Friendship
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Science Fiction

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-12-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Just when it seems that there’s nothing new under the dystopian sun, Gardner (The Red Necklace) produces an original and unforgettable novel about a boy in a totalitarian society who risks everything in the name of friendship. Standish Treadwell narrates in short, fast-paced chapters, illustrated by theatrical designer/director Crouch with flipbook-style images of rats, flies, and maggots: creatures that represent the oppressive forces at work in the Motherland, a brutish government intent on being first to the moon, at whatever cost to its citizens. Fifteen-year-old Standish is dyslexic (as is the author), making him a target of bullies, which is the least of his problems. He lives with his resourceful grandfather in Zone Seven, but the Motherland has taken away his parents, as well as his best friend, Hector. The loss of his parents has created a hole Standish cannot fill; the disappearance of Hector leaves Standish unprotected at school and bereft of a friend who saw past Standish’s disability to recognize his intelligence. “I believe the best thing we have is our imagination,” Standish recalls Hector telling him, “and you have that in bucketloads.” Though Standish’s grandfather keeps the boy purposefully in the dark about many things, Standish figures out one of the government’s big secrets on his own, and he concocts a brave and personally risky plan to reveal it. Parts of the story are very hard to read—early on, a classmate is beaten to death by a teacher in the schoolyard—but the violence asks readers to consider what the world would be like if certain events in history had turned out differently. Gardner does a masterful job of portraying Standish’s dyslexia through the linguistic swerves of his narration, and although the ending is pure heartbreak, she leaves readers with a hopeful message about the power of one boy to stand up to evil. Ages 12–up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Never underestimate a unique mind

The young adult genre can be as repetitive as it is inventive, so the popularity of the dystopian YA subgenre guarantees some familiar storylines. It seems unfair, then, to classify Sally Gardner’s new novel, Maggot Moon, as dystopian YA, as it defies comparison to all of its shelfmates. Rather than looking ahead to a bleak future, Gardner imagines what the 1950s would have been like if the Allies had lost World War II. In the Motherland, “impurities” are “rubbed out,” citizens snitch or starve, and sheep have the best chance for survival.

Fifteen-year-old Standish Treadwell is no sheep. He is dyslexic (like the author)—“Can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright”—and therefore an impurity, an easy target both at school and in the Motherland. His dyslexia, however, is more a power than a hindrance. It keeps his eyes up and his ears open, and through his wry, incisive and original voice, he creates a narrative that is not quite linear, resembling instead the colorful mind of a daydreamer.

Standish escapes his circumstances by retreating into his one remaining vestige of independence, his imagination. He and his best friend Hector dream of the free world, “Croca-Colas” and Cadillacs. They build a rocket ship to take them to Juniper, an imagined utopian planet with a name that feels within the realm of possibility, yet is obviously unobtainable. They are not alone in their dreams of reaching the stars, as the Motherland takes strides each day to be the first nation to land a man on the moon.

When Hector and his family are taken away just before the moon launch, Standish finds himself uniquely positioned to risk all and unveil the Motherland’s elaborate ruse to its citizens and the rest of the world. He is the wolf among the sheep.

In Maggot Moon, hope lies in truth. This is a small victory, but an achievable one, especially for a clear-eyed boy driven by friendship.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

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