Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"It was kind of the President of the Motherland to address us. The leader of the moronic Martians. She always looked the same, never changed. Her hair a construction of steel wire, her eyes unblinking. She didn't fool me, not one iota. Underneath that propaganda-perfect face paint she had red scaly sin and a hole for a mouth. Her words were worms that buried themselves into your worried mind, to rot all thoughts of freedom."
Life is hard for fifteen-year-old Standish in Zone Seven, a street of near-derelict houses. There he lives with his grandfather, struggling to avoid the attention and surveillance of the police state known as the Motherland. Standish’s parents have disappeared, presumably taken by the authorities. He forges a friendship with Hector, an ally against the insidious and unrelenting brutality of the totalitarian regime. Hector too disappears, however, following an incident where they retrieve their football which has landed in a restricted zone.
The writing is spare and deceptively simplistic. One of the conceits of the novel is the constrained vocabulary that Stanish has, which means we witness the unfolding of events askew and at a slant. There is a chilling quality to the seemingly unquestioned impositions that have been exerted upon civil liberties and the propagandist flagship that the attempted moon landing gives. Told in short but meticulously crafted chapters, the plot races along leaving readers pondering much of the confusion and confounding nature of the harsh rule.