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


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer G Wilder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


It was the day I first met Hector. They had me cornered under the old railway tunnel near the school. Hans Fielder thought he'd caught me good and proper, that there was no escape unless I wanted to risk being killed, for at the end of the tunnel was a sign. You didn't have to be able to read it to know what it said. It had a cross and skull-bones on it, which meant keep out or you're dead.

That day, down there in the stinking tunnel with Hans Fielder and his gang of nasties jeering and throwing stones at me, I came to the rapid conclusion that it might be safer to run into the long grass behind the sign and take my chance with the devil. There was no barbed wire or anything like that to fence it off. That notice alone had the power of a thousand scarecrows.

I ran down the tunnel for all I was worth, past the sign into what I was certain would be a firing range. At least it would be over quickly. Mum and Dad were gone and Gramps . . . well, I didn't let myself think about Gramps, not right then. Because Gramps was the only person that still pulled at the gravity in me. I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to see Hans Fielder and his frickwits following me. What I saw was a murky group of lads drifting away.

I stopped by a huge oak tree, out of breath, dizzy. It was only when my breathing became more steady that I realized what I'd done. I waited some time. If the Greenflies turned up I would put my hands up and give myself in.

I sat down, my heart an egg bumping against the side of a pan of boiling water. It was then that I spotted it. A red football. Deflated, yes, but whole. I stuffed it in my school bag, a reward for my bravery. Not only that, but as I went further along the disused railway track I found raspberry bushes groaning with fruit. I took off my shirt, tied the sleeves together, and filled it up until it couldn't take another raspberry. All the time I was expecting to feel a Greenfly's hand on my shoulder.

By now I was near the wall that runs along the side of the railway track. A word to describe that wall would be impenetrable. See. I might not be able to spell but I have a huge vocabulary. I collect words — they are sweets in the mouth of sound.

The wall was built so high that Gramps and me, whose garden backed up to it, couldn't see over the fricking thing. You wouldn't know there was a wild meadow hidden behind it filled with flowers. Butterflies were doing the fandango like nature was having a ball and keeping the VIP list all to herself. I was seeing it for the first time and, cripes, it was eye-bending in its beauty. Well, I thought, if all mankind disappeared down a hole I knew who would be holding the celebration party.

Why stop now, Standish? You have the raspberries, the football — why not the flowers?

Twerp. Only then did it dawn in my daydreaming head that I hadn't the foggiest idea how I was going to get over the wall. I was up shit river with a hole in the boat and sinking fast. I mean, I couldn't climb the wall. It wasn't the height that concerned me, it was the glass at the top, the artery-cutting kind. You wouldn't be able to get over that wall and still claim to have hands.

Frick-fracking hell. There were two choices: I would have to go back the way I came, which I wasn't doing; and the other . . .

Standish, go on, tell me the other.

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
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...

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 City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  95Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

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.