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A starkly original and heartbreaking tale of friendship and rebellion
Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist who has sold over two million books in the UK and whose work has been translated into more than twenty-two languages. Her novel MAGGOT MOON (Hot Key Books 2012) won both the Costa Children's Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal 2013. Sally's genre-defying novel THE DOUBLE SHADOW (Orion 2011) received great critical acclaim and was also longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2013. THE RED NECKLACE (shortlisted for 2007 Guardian Book Prize) and THE SILVER BLADE are set during the French Revolution, the film rights for which have been purchased by Dominic West. Sally also won the 2005 Nestle Children's Book Prize for her debut novel I, CORIANDER. She is currently writing the popular WINGS & CO Fairy Detective Agency Series (Orion) for 7-11 year olds - hailed as 'Agatha Christie for kids' - and has recently finished her next Young Adult fiction novel, which is a modern gothic tale called 'Tinder', illustrated by David Roberts, due for publication November 2013 (Orion). Follow Sally at www.sallygardner.net or on Twitter: @TheSallyGardner
Just when it seems that there's nothing new under the dystopian sun, Gardner (The Red Necklace) produces an original and unforgettable novel about a boy in a totalitarian society who risks everything in the name of friendship. Standish Treadwell narrates in short, fast-paced chapters, illustrated by theatrical designer/director Crouch with flipbook-style images of rats, flies, and maggots: creatures that represent the oppressive forces at work in the Motherland, a brutish government intent on being first to the moon, at whatever cost to its citizens. Fifteen-year-old Standish is dyslexic (as is the author), making him a target of bullies, which is the least of his problems. He lives with his resourceful grandfather in Zone Seven, but the Motherland has taken away his parents, as well as his best friend, Hector. The loss of his parents has created a hole Standish cannot fill; the disappearance of Hector leaves Standish unprotected at school and bereft of a friend who saw past Standish's disability to recognize his intelligence. "I believe the best thing we have is our imagination," Standish recalls Hector telling him, "and you have that in bucketloads." Though Standish's grandfather keeps the boy purposefully in the dark about many things, Standish figures out one of the government's big secrets on his own, and he concocts a brave and personally risky plan to reveal it. Parts of the story are very hard to read-early on, a classmate is beaten to death by a teacher in the schoolyard-but the violence asks readers to consider what the world would be like if certain events in history had turned out differently. Gardner does a masterful job of portraying Standish's dyslexia through the linguistic swerves of his narration, and although the ending is pure heartbreak, she leaves readers with a hopeful message about the power of one boy to stand up to evil. Ages 12-up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 8 Up-In Gardener's dystopian novel (Candlewick, 2013), 15-year old Standish Treadwell and his grandfather live in Zone Seven, the lowest-ranked district of the totalitarian government of the Motherland, and try to survive after Standish's parents disappear. The Motherland is obsessed with an upcoming moon landing which will establish their superiority over other countries. Meanwhile, food is scarce and everyone is watched constantly. Standish and his grandfather befriend a mysterious family that moves next door. Hector, the 15 year-old son, becomes Standish's protector when he's bullied at school. The boys find fun in an old soccer ball, build a spaceship in the attic, and wonder what lays on the forbidden other side of the big wall behind their houses. When they find out, their lives are irrevocably changed. Standish finds refuge from his bleak surroundings in a glorious imagination and the courage to make a final stand against the oppressive regime in which he lives in the end. Sixteen-year old English actor Robert Madge does an outstanding job portraying Standish in the first-person narration. Standish's voice is strong throughout, whether he is being taunted because he has trouble reading and writing (the author is dyslexic) or dreaming about his imaginary planet. Violent, dark, yet strangely hopeful, this audiobook will stay with listeners for a long time.-Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Dazzling, chilling, breathtaking. MAGGOT MOON is, quite simply, a perfect book. Meg Rosoff, award-winning author of HOW I LIVE NOW The outstanding teenage novel of the autumn, arresting and original and written in a singular voice... -- Lorna Bradbury The Telegraph This heart-breaking, brilliantly written novel is the most original publication for years -- Amanda Craig The Times My final favourite of the year is Sally Gardner's MAGGOT MOON...the kind of book you don't grow out of. -- Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times ...should be gift-wrapped for everyone you know over 10. -- Geraldine Brennan The Observer