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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant tale of courage and enduring friendship, an unforgettable narrator...
This is the first book I have read in 2013, and boy has it raised the bar for whatever else I read this year. I think the blurb tells you pretty much all you need to know, so I won't summarise any further - it's one of those occasions where you want to tell people `I won't give too much away - just read it!'.
It's written in deceptively simple prose and in that...
Published 18 months ago by library4delinquents

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a compelling read, but I'm not entirely convinced
This is an interesting book, aimed at teenagers but I would advise parents to read it with their children. This is because there are so many historical references that a child would not necessarily pick up on. As an adult it was blindingly obvious what Gardner was referencing. Young people will enjoy this story as it has a compelling narrative and strong 1st person...
Published 6 months ago by Teacher


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant tale of courage and enduring friendship, an unforgettable narrator..., 7 Jan 2013
This review is from: Maggot Moon (Hardcover)
This is the first book I have read in 2013, and boy has it raised the bar for whatever else I read this year. I think the blurb tells you pretty much all you need to know, so I won't summarise any further - it's one of those occasions where you want to tell people `I won't give too much away - just read it!'.
It's written in deceptively simple prose and in that sense, it's easy to read. I rattled through it because I wanted to find out what happened to Standish and Hector. But at some point I am going to have to go back and reread it to truly appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the writing. On another level, it doesn't make for easy reading because of the truly awful things going on in the Motherland - particularly when you realise with unease that similar things have indeed happened in human history. And are happening still. Sally Gardner is known for her `unique blend of magic and historical realism', and in this case there is the inkling that you might be reading a re-imagined history. It's all the more powerful because the world doesn't feel like some distant dystopia - it all seems very close to home. You really get a sense of the precariousness of the characters' situation, and though they are two very different books, I would compare the emotional response I got from reading Maggot Moon to what I experienced when I read Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. It's both heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful, because it illustrates the eternal presence of friendship, courage and hope in even the most dire of circumstances.
I instantly warmed to the narrator, Standish Treadwill, and his voice is one of those that echoes in your mind long after the story ends. He's someone who doesn't do well at school and is underestimated because of this, when in fact he possesses a singular intelligence and originality - a dangerous trait in an oppressive state where conformity to the norm and received thinking is tantamount to survival.
I love it when pictorial elements are included in fiction (if it's done well), and the doodles scattered through the pages really enhanced the reading experience by subtly echoing the story arc. That, along with the layout and the short chapters, tied in really well with Standish's character, as someone who can't read and interprets the world in more visual terms. So not only is it a good story - it's also a beautifully created book, and I'm very pleased that I got the hardcover edition, because I think this one is a classic to be treasured and shared with friends for years to come.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 3 May 2013
This review is from: Maggot Moon (Paperback)
An odd little book that really left me thinking. Standish is a great narrator with lovely, quirky ways of describing things and telling his story. Regarding other reviewers' comments about violence and language - there is violence, but it isn't graphic - it's told the way it is without sensationalism. Nor is it done without reason - it gives a better understanding of the State they're living under. (And the perpetrator is punished). The language too is used for purpose, not for shock value. I don't know what the recommended age is for this, but would have no problem letting my 12 year old read it - in fact, I will encourage it - it's a thought-provoking, clever, and refreshingly different read. While the ending isn't what I wanted to happen (don't want to give anything away!), I'm glad the author chose it - it was right for the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Maggot Moon (Kindle Edition)
A fantastic read that is almost impossible to put down - and I rarely did until I'd got to the end! With such short chapters it was too easy to just keep telling myself...just one more chapter! A real page turner, at times emotional, thought-provoking, shocking and upsetting, but a book I will definitely read again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant concept, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Maggot Moon (Paperback)
Reading this as part of a BA Hons degree - came in far beyond expectations and found it an outstanding read, great concept and a thought provoking book. It withholds nothing and can be extremely heart wrenching and moving and insightful.

Recommend this for both adults who will recognises the connections to other great works and great for young readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a compelling read, but I'm not entirely convinced, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Maggot Moon (Kindle Edition)
This is an interesting book, aimed at teenagers but I would advise parents to read it with their children. This is because there are so many historical references that a child would not necessarily pick up on. As an adult it was blindingly obvious what Gardner was referencing. Young people will enjoy this story as it has a compelling narrative and strong 1st person narrator. However to gain the most it does need to have the historical perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark adition to the Young Adult Dystopian genre, 15 Sep 2013
This review is from: Maggot Moon (Paperback)
"Standish, wake up, you fricking, daydreaming bastard! Wake up! Wake up or you'll be dead like me."

In Standish Treadwell's world, when people go missing, you don't call the police. You stay quiet. You pretend they never existed. You hope no one notices you because if they do, you're next.

Opening this novel I was expecting a pre-teen adventure story. Instead I was thrust into a society ruled by propaganda, brutality and betrayal. A place where survival was the only thing you could strive for and most would sacrifice their neighbours to achieve it.

Here lives our protagonist, `Standish Treadwell. Can't read, can't write. Standish Treadwell isn't bright.' Standish Treadwell is dyslexic, and accustomed to abuse in school. He lives in a street filled with the ghosts of those who have vanished. Only he and his grandfather remain, and they are being watched. They converse in whispers and never mention their secret. A secret that could topple the Motherland.

Sally Gardener's haunting, vicious dystopian novel is an incredible addition to Young Adult Fiction; it exhibits a masterful use of suspense and stands alone within the multitude of books I've read this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Maggot Moon (Kindle Edition)
A moving and disturbing story. This book will make you look at life from a different perspective. I would recommend it highly to older children but would advise parental guidance to allow for the disposition of the individual child (Although not gratuitous there are several violent and harrowing scenes).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable., 28 Feb 2013
This review is from: Maggot Moon (Kindle Edition)
This is a brilliant book. Completely and absolutely original subject matter, characters and situation. Well written and absolutely unputdownable. Really credible characters to whom one can relate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book from Sally Gardner!, 1 Nov 2012
This review is from: Maggot Moon (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed Ms Gardner's earlier novels for teenagers, a captivating mixture of historical detail and magical fantasy, but her latest books prove that she cannot be pigeon-holed and her imagination is limitless.

This stunning story takes us to `Zone Seven', a thoroughly unpleasant part of `The Motherland' where Standish Treadwell and his grandfather live in a street of derelict houses. The population is controlled by a brutal regime. This is a place where a boy can be beaten to death by a teacher, just because he laughed; a place where people, like Standish's parents, his friend Hector and his family, just disappear; a place where "the sky fell in long ago". `The Motherland' intends to send a manned rocket to the moon to impress the world, and its own unfortunate inhabitants, with its power and technological superiority. Standish Treadwell, the dimwit who sits at the back of the class daydreaming and is bullied by his teacher as well as the other pupils, is not impressed by this. He may be seen as stupid by everyone else in the school, but he has good reason to know that the moon project is not what it seems.

This chilling, but totally engaging, tale is narrated by Standish himself, a boy who copes with the harshness of his daily life by planning his escape to planet `Juniper' with his friend Hector in the papier-māché space craft he is building at home or the life he and Hector plan to live in the land of Technicolor, Croca-Cola and ice-cream coloured Cadillacs. Not many people would have imagined that Standish would turn out to be the bravest of them all. Make sure you follow the sequence of illustrations (the flies and the rat) that threads its way through the book as a kind of Memento Mori. This is a book you will remember for a long time.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1984 inspired dystopia possibly too graphic for its target audience, 7 April 2013
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This review is from: Maggot Moon (Paperback)
A caveat for parents; this is a novel that skirts the fringes of what I would deem appropriate reading for young readers. Some of the themes are decidedly adult and the descriptive language highly graphic. I would caution a minimum age of 15 and urge parents to read the book before allowing their youngster to digest it unchecked.

Standish Treadwell inhabits an alternate reality dystopia so closely related to existing historical realities that, for all intent and purpose, this could be a documentary biopic rather than fiction.

Locked in a zoned off ghetto where the least useful and most unwanted citizens of the Motherland are left to languish in poverty, Treadwell and his grandfather inhabit a life of pathos, subjugation and dirge broken only by sudden flurries of violence and moments of dangerous rebellion.

The sub-text of a moon landing runs throughout, at first as a back-drop to illustrate the use of propaganda but then gradually as an intrinsic aspect of the unfolding story. Allusions to 1984 are rife, introducing a new generation to the horrors of totalitarianism but possibly revealing too much in too short a space where less might have been so much more.

In the copy I personally read the pages were also illustrated with a flicker-book style cartoon, underlining the none too subtle subtext of corruption with an ongoing visual reveal, at first humorous, eventually sickening. The message is somewhat convoluted and contradictory. While the visual is visceral and gruesome it seems also to be reminding us that life is naturally rotten. Not the most inspiring message to install in the impressionable minds of Gardner's target audience.
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Maggot Moon
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (Paperback - 3 Jan 2013)
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