Thursday, February 21, 2013
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
279 p. Candlewick Press, February 12, 2013. 9780763665531. (Borrowed)
In an alternate London of 1956, where the outcome of an un-named war was different, Standish Treadwell lives with his grandfather in an awful neighborhood called Zone 7, misses his parents and is barely surviving at school. He is not just dealing with bullying classmates, but brutish teachers who not only routinely cane their students, but one beats Standish's classmate to death in a harrowing scene. Thankfully, the repressive government does not stand for it. Unfortunately, the punishment is meted out in front of the class. (Shudders.)
When Standish's best friend and protector, Hector, goes missing and he is done with his grandfather's peculiar ways, Standish starts to seek his own answers. He may be labeled a dummy due to his dyslexia and a freak due to his heterochromia (two different eye colors), and, as such, at risk for removal due to the government's standards, but he is an astute observer and possesses a strong moral compass as well as great courage.
I read this disturbing, utterly brilliant novel in one sitting and it absolutely shredded me. The suspense is nearly unbearable, the world-building is vivid and if you don't read the final chapter through tears, you have no heart. I highly recommend this alternate history/ dystopia. I won't soon forget this one.