Wednesday, 29 August 2012

M's review - Maggot Moon

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Compared to a lot of the recent teen dystopian that is out there, Maggot Moon is an invigorating read in much the same way as fizzing colas on your tongue. Maggot Moon is a what if story. What if things had happened differently? Sally Gardner poses this question by setting the story in an alternate past. At the beginning of the story, Standish Treadwell asks himself this question. What if?

Standish Treadwell is an imperfect fifteen year old. He has two differently coloured eyes and cannot read, write or spell. He has dyslexia and lives in Zone 7 with his Gramps. This is not a good zone to live in and you have to do everything you can to ensure you don’t become maggot meat for the Motherland, an oppressively brutal and stratified regime. This is difficult when you stand out as different, the way that Standish stands out. 

The novel takes place on 19th July 1956. More than anything, Standish wants to get on a rocket to the planet Juniper which he has discovered. What if he did? But the Motherland is much more interested in launching the first rocket to the moon- and nothing is going to stop them. But what if something did?

Other important parts in this what if story are a wall, a red football, Hector and Gramps.

Maggot Moon is stark both in its story and in Standish’s narrative. There’s no messing about with softening blows but there is a lot of messing with words and realities. There is also love. Not romantic love or lust. Just real plain love, loyalty and sacrifice.

Sally Gardner plays wonderfully with words, associations and meanings. I think she might have had a lot of fun with this novel and she (or was it the publishers?) describe it as a "bookful of Sallyisms". Don’t get me wrong. Maggot Moon is not a funny novel by any stretch of the imagination. And it might stretch your imagination. If you let it.

Maggot Moon. It really will mean something to you by the time you finish the book. And it won’t take you long because Maggot Moon is a fast read. It’s a real pageturner with perhaps the shortest chapters I’ve ever seen. This makes it difficult to put down (and it might make it difficult to quickly pick up from where you left off if you do put it down). 

If you liked Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, you should try this. If you liked Lois Lowry’s The Giver, you should try this. If you liked SD Crockett’s After the Snow, you should try this. If you like a good story that makes you think, you should try this.

This story DOES NOT contain girls. What if it did? Would it have been a different story…..?

This story DOES contain swearing and violence. It may upset some younger readers.

Publication details:
Hot Key Books, 30 August 2012, London, hardback, pp.288

This copy: uncorrected proof received for review from the publisher


  1. I've heard such wonderful things about this book. I think it sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it!

    1. Oh yes, read it. It is wonderful. If it meets the criteria (I bet it does), it'll be one of those that I'll be tipping for the Carnegie.

  2. thanks for posting.


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