Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Published: 3 January 2013 (Hot Key Books)
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|BookDepository
Buy the e-book: Kindle
Source: Borrowed from library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever present oppressive forces of The Motherland.
Friendship and trust inspire Standish to rise up against an oppressive regime and expose the truth about a planned moon landing in this original and spellbinding book.
Maggot Moon tells the story of Standish Treadwell who lives in Zone 7 with his Gramps. His parents and best friend have disappeared, a common occurrence where Standish lives, and the government is preparing the population for the upcoming moon landing.
This book was unlike anything I've ever read. It took me a while to get my head around sine if what was happening because there's some very bizarre combinations of ideas, but once I was a few chapters in I was so caught up in Standish's world and his adventures that I just didn't care. I was hooked!
What really drew me in to Maggot Moon was the wonderful writing style. Gardner has this way of describing things in such a way that you'd never think of using those words or that metaphor yourself, but as you read it you suddenly realise that it's the phrasing was not only beautiful but completely spot on. I spent the whole time reading Maggot Moon just in awe of this fantastic, vivid writing style.
Immediately I fell in love of Standish, the main character who narrates the story. He's bullied and belittled at school by both his fellow students and his teachers because of his inability to read and write. I really did feel for him but not in a patronising way. I was more sad that the other characters were missing out on such a genuinely good person. And Standish is smart. He has this wicked imagination and he's intelligent enough to use the fact people misjudge him and his level of intellect to his advantage so that he can have the last laugh.
The relationships between Standish and some of the other characters were some of my highlights of Maggot Moon. I loved his friendship with Hector and adored the fact that Hector sees Standish for who he really is. The book flits between past and present so we get to see a bit of their friendship before Hector disappears which I liked. The two of them spend their time planning their dream trip to the planet Juniper and you definitely get carried away with their innocence and imagination. The relationship between Standish and his Gramps was super sweet too. They've been through so much and only really have each other.
There are some pretty brutal scenes in Maggot Moon and definitely some moments where I just couldn't believe the treatment of Standish and the people around him. The regime in power make for pretty good villains and I ended up completely rooting for Standish because he was up against a pretty horrible enemy. But there are also so many touching moments where the characters fight and find things to be happy about. The balance was perfect/
The book takes place in a sort of post-war, dystopian alternative universe. Standish and Hector live with their families in a run down part of town where the outcasts are sent to live. They have a curfew and there are all sorts of conspiracies flying about which means they can't always trust their neighbours. It took a while to settle into that world because the information is very slowly teased as Standish gradually introduces us to his world. It was certainly one of the most unique dystopians I've read which was a real breath of fresh air.
Maggot Moon is also really nicely set out as a physical book (it's another one I was sad to return to the library!). The chapters are nice and short which kept it pacy and made it easy to pick up and put down (not that I wanted to put it down!). It also had a series of illustrations dotted throughout the book which told their own gruesome story. It was a really interesting touch to the book.
I think Maggot Moon is a book that is hard to describe because it is so unique, and the best way to make your mind up about it is to go out and read it! It's a book that impressed and captivated me and is like no book I've ever read, but I would definitely want to read more books like it. At the end of the day it's a beautifully written tale of friendship, survival and standing up for yourself and a book I'd highly recommend.
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