Maggot Moon is one of the most remarkable and unique YA books I have had the pleasure of reading this year. When I requested it from Hot Key Books, I wasn’t sure what to expect but had great things from blogger friends about it, so was very excited about it. Maggot Moon tells the story of Standish Treadwell; dyslexic, with one best friend, Hector, a vivid imagination and who lives with his grandfather after his parents left.
Gardner’s world-building is nothing short of stunning. The world she has created, which seems so similar and simultaneously alien to the world we live in, is vivid and feels real. It’s sinister, brutal and chilling. The overall highlight however is Standish himself. His voice is so strongly written by Gardner and I was rooting for him from the first page. People have given up on him because of his dyslexia but he proves to be intelligent and brave in a cruel world.
Maggot Moon begins before the first Moon landing of the Motherland and after Standish’s best friend has gone missing. It is not a plot I can spoil for you but it is full of conspiracy, revolution and utterly inspiring. Gardner includes the sinister and terrifyingly oppressive regime Standish lives under and one scene at his school was particularly heart-renching.
The final part of the book was absolutely heart-renching and breathtaking. Between the suspense and well developed character Gardner brings to life, her prose is simply exquisite and the book is beautifully written. The ending in particular is a fantastic piece of prose and I just loved it.
Gardner also conveys friendship so well. YA generally, and in my opinion incorrectly, is seen as a ‘female’ genre filled with romances and vampires, but Maggot Moon is a book that defies this. It wonderfully explores the deep friendship between Hector and Standish and the loss of that when Hector vanishes as well as being full of adventure and rebellion.
I have to admit the ‘illustrations’ of a rat in the book did not quite work for me, though I understood the symbolism behind them and thought it was and interesting and unusual dimension to add to the book.
This book is intelligent, unusual and heartbreaking. One not to miss! I received a free copy for honest reviewing purposes from the publishers. Maggot Moon is available to buy now!