Maggot Moon

Maggot Moon

Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Candlewick 2013

"And what's so small to you

Is so large to me

If it's the last thing I do

I'll make you see"

-- Suzanne Vega "Rock in this Pocket(Song of David)"

"The house had belonged to my parents before they became nonexistent. It made their disappearance more final. Dotted their eyes, made the question mark next to the why that much bigger, that much harder to avoid. At that time, Mum and Dad had vanished over a year back. There were many unexplained disappearances: neighbors and friends who like my parents had been rubbed out, their names forgotten, all knowledge of them denied by the authorities.

"It had struck me that the world was full of holes, holes which you could fall into, never to be seen again. I couldn't understand the difference between disappearance and death. Both seemed the same to me, both left holes. Holes in your heart. Holes in your life. It wasn't hard to see how many holes there were. You could tell when there was another one. The lights would be switched off in the house, then it was either blown up or pulled down."

Young dyslexic Standish Treadwell lives with his gramps in Zone Seven of the Motherland. This is not a good thing. As Mr. Lush says, "There are no good signs in Zone Seven." Fortunately, at least for a while, Mr. Lush, his wife, and their son Hector show up in the adjoining house where Standish used to live with his parents. But this too shall pass.

An allegorical tale accompanied by images, I didn't worry too much about trying to analyze all of the potential parallels as I read it. I just soaked up the yummy writing that comes at you in brief chapters, and found kinship with the heroic Standish Treadwell, who puts his life on the line for what he knows is right, and then, when all has been taken from him, uses his well-hidden smarts and stands up to the giant.

And being a guy, I am sitting here feeling the Standish and Hector relationship deep down in my bones.

Lots to savor; lots to think about.

Ages 12 and up   288 pages  978-0-7636-65531  


Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS
Instructor, San Jose State University
School of Library and Information Science

Standish Treadwell is treading water in a world of bullies and deception.  He lives with his grandfather in Zone Seven with the other throwaways.  Standish knows how to run from the gang of bullies that waits for him every afternoon and knows that his school is teaching him more than the curriculum requirements.  He watches in horror as his classmates are beaten and he clutches at the tiny bit of kindness shown him by a teacher who steps adroitly out of the view of the omnipresent cameras so she can retie the tie Standish cannot manage.

A new family moved into the houses next door and Grandpa decides to take them a welcoming gift.  The family watches with enormous distrust and finally immeasurable disbelief as they realize they are being offered trust and kindness.  Those two items are not for sale in this part of the world.

Standish makes friends with the new boy, Hector. The two give each other hope and glimpses of normal until the day Hector disappears.  

Eventually Grandpa and Standish see through the smoke and mirrors being fronted by the "monstrous Motherland."  They make a plan and decide to risk all.  

Told in machine gun blasts this is a heavy story with only gasps of hope and light.  Good for readers who search for heroes, sense that everything in their world is not what it seems, and for those willing to reflect deeply on what they might do to make the rest of the beings on the planet sit up and grasp the truth.

Ages 13 and up  (violence)

Recommended by:  Barb



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