Excerpt from Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Maggot Moon

By Sally Gardner

Maggot Moon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Feb 2013,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: 9 Sep 2014,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I think I knew, if I was honest, then and there, that this was not just about the tie and the loss of a knot. It was the loss of Hector I couldn't stand. If only I knew where they had taken him. If only I knew he was all right, then maybe the knot in my stomach — the knot which got tighter every day — would go away.

Seven

Hector said the tie stood for something different. It was just the same as a collar round a dog's neck. It said you were a part of something more than you alone would ever be. Hector said a uniform was a way of making us all the same, just numbers, neat boy-shaped numbers to be entered in a book. Hector wasn't a neat number and I think they might have rubbed him out, but I can't be sure of that. What I knew was that Hector was right. The knotted tie represented survival.

Now I was stuck, tie undone, my shirt buttoned wrong, my shoelaces a dead loss. I was a mess.

Eight

The corridor smelled of disinfectant, milk, boys' pee, and polish. The striplights looked to me like loneliness. They were too bright; they revealed everything. They made the emptiness ten times worse, showed me there was no Hector. A glass door banged and Miss Phillips, one of the school wardens, came out of her office carrying a cup.

"What are you doing, Treadwell?" .

She had a hard, no-nonsense voice but I'd seen her in the queues like everyone else, getting a little extra on the side. She looked down the corridor and up at the camera that went round like clockwork. She waited until the all-seeing eye was turned elsewhere, then without a word she tied my tie, re-buttoned my shirt. She checked the camera, put her finger to her lips, and waited for it to turn back on us before saying in the same, no-nonsense voice, "Good, Treadwell. Now that is how I expect you to arrive at school every day."

Never would I have thought that the hard-boiled Miss Phillips had such a soft, sweet center.

Nine

The headmaster's office had a seat outside, a long bench, wood hard, bum sore, and just a bit too high. I reckon that was the genius of the seat because you ended up sitting there looking small and less of anything, with your feet dangling and your knobbly knees blushing red. And all you heard was the sound of your classmates hardly daring to breathe. I sat there waiting for the bell to ring, which meant Mr. Hellman will see you now. I sat and waited, time drip-ticking away.

Before Hector came to this school, I hated it. I believed it was invented just so the bullies, with brains the size of dried-up dog turds, could beat the shit out of kids like me. A kid with different-colored eyes: one blue eye, one brown, and the dubious honor of being the only boy in the whole of his class of fifteen-year-olds who couldn't spell, couldn't write.

Yes, I know.

Standish Treadwell isn't bright . . .

How many times did the jerk-off bully boys sing that to me, egged on by the glory-arsed leader of the torture lounge, Hans Fielder. He knew he was important. Head Perfect, the teacher's pet. He wore long trousers, as did the rest of his gang. Tell you this for a bucketful of tar: there weren't many in our school who wore long trousers. Those that did thought themselves up there with the greats. Little Eric Owen wore shorts like the rest of us but he made his shorts longer by doing everything Hans Fielder required of the runt. If Little Eric was a dog he would have been a terrier.

His main duty was to see which way I was heading home every day and give the signal to Hans Fielder and his merry men. The boys needed something to get their teeth into. The chase would be on. I ended up being caught and beaten every frick-fracking time. Don't think I didn't give as good as I got, because I did. But I didn't stand much of a chance when there were seven of them.

Excerpted from Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. Copyright © 2013 by Sally Gardner. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  A Look at Dyslexia

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

More Anagrams

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.