Unhooking the moon by Gregory Hughes

Publishers’ blurb

Meet the Rat: A dancing, football-playing gangster-baiting ten-year-old. When she foresaw her father’s death, she picked up her football and decided to head for New York.

Meet her older brother Bob: Protector of the Rat, but more often her follower, he is determined to find their uncle in America and discover a new life for them both.

On their adventures across the flatlands of Winnipeg and through the exciting streets of New York, Bob and the Rat make friends with a hilarious con man and a famous rap star, and escape numerous dangers. But is their Uncle a rich business man, or is the word on the street, that he something more sinister, true? And will they ever find him?

Hughes has created a funny, warm, unique world that lives and breathes. Like I Capture the Castle, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Curious Incident, Hughes’ story and characters will resonate for many and for years to come.

Further information

Interview with Gregory Hughes

Gregory Hughes at Lovereading4kids

Books for Keeps review


12 comments on “Unhooking the moon by Gregory Hughes

  1. Unhooking the moon is a book which would make you want to read on.
    It made me emotional at some parts, as some parts there was people dying. I would say this story is about children ending up making friends with strangers in New York, while looking for a family member. I felt the book could be a bit better at the start as I found it a bit boring.


  2. I LOVE this book! From the word go I found it exciting, funny and full of adventure. Although the main characters are young they deal with mature themes. The contrast in setting works well as does the clever narration. I haven’t laughed (or cried) like this in ages. The ‘Rat’ has to be one of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Although she is eccentric (to say the least) she is realisitic and captures the reader’s attention. This is definitely a strong contender for the shortlist and I think I’ll be hard pushed to find a better read on the longlist.

  3. This is my favourite book from all I have read out of the longlist and should definitely be on the short list. I loved all the characters in the book but the ‘Rat’ was my favourite, one of the best characters I have read about in a while. She is eccentric, funny, strong, loyal and seems to jump out of the page at you. I laughed and cried along with the story in fact I loved it so much I went right back to the start and read it again.

  4. What a rollercoaster of a story! You’ll be laughing and crying over the course of this book. What a wonderful character “Rat” is, you’ll be rooting for her and her brother from the very start. I did feel that it was just as well that the story is set in New York, as they say “it could only happen in New York!” “Rat” and her brother Bob get involved with con-men, rap-stars and a multitude of shady characters in their quest to find their long-lost uncle after their father dies. Definitely in my top three, so far.

  5. I loved Unhooking the Moon! It was a fabulous wee story about two siblings, Bob and Rat who’ve lost their dad, and go off to New York in search of their long lost uncle. They become embroiled in all sorts of adventures along the way, meeting a famous rap star who takes them in off the streets. The book explores themes of trust; the true meaning of friendship, celebrity and mental health issues. A great read.

  6. Unlike most books, ‘Unhooking the Moon’ hooks you from the first word. So far, I am at the beginning of chapter 6 and I cant put it down. It is about a boy and his younger sister, whom he calls The Rat, whose mother died when they were younger, and when their dad dies suddenly, they have to leave, for fear of being put in a childrens home. They set off for New York, to where their drug dealing uncle lives. So far, it is really exciting and gripping, and very well written. It makes you want to read on, no matter what your prefered type of book is.

  7. So far I am at page 212 in chapter 14. The Rat and Bob are sleeping in Central Park in New York and its really sad yet funny. I think this book is as good as it is because the author has made the main characters so likeable and genuine. I cant wait to read on and find out what happens next because so far, its very gripping, sad, happy, inspirational and hilarious.

  8. From the very moment I picked up this book and read the blurb, I knew I would love it! And, now, being almost halfway through the book, I am loving it. It is definitely my style and it really gets my imagination going! I just feel as if I am a ghost that is always there!

    The book, sort of has a fairy tale/ reality theme to it! There are two main characters in this book. The “Rat “otherwise known as Marie Claire, and Robbie but his friends call him Bob. After their father dies sadly, they don’t want to be put in a home so, they ask some of their Dad’s friends to help bury him in the Prairie Garden next to their mother’s memorial spot. They also avoid telling the authorities as they do not want to be put in a home or have foster parents. And so, they find out that they have an uncle in New York who is known to be a rich drug dealer! They don’t have any money though, so, they get on a freight train, which turns out to be a very long journey. And, so far, that is all I have read up to but I really cannot wait to find out what happens next!

    I think Unhooking The Moon by Gregory Hughes is a very fascinating novel and I would suggest to all who want their imagination to run wild!

  9. I was hoping to make it to the Catalyst. But I’m in Vancouver bogged down in my next book. And I have to admit that it’s not going well. But I’ve just read some of the nice things written about Unhooking The Moon and it’s given me a bit of a boost!!!
    Much appreciated!
    Gregory Hughes

    • Hi Gregory, Thank you for getting in touch. I’m glad Catalyst could help in a small way with the creative process. Good luck with the new book, and we’ll hopefully see you on a shortlist in the future.

      Jennifer Macfadyen,
      on behalf of the Catalyst Committee

  10. Thanks Jennifer,

    The writing’s going a lot better I’m glad to say. Yes, maybe I’ll make the shortlist next year. But there are some great books on the current shortlist. May the best writer win!

    Thanks again for the kind comments.


  11. To be honest, this book didn’t meet my expectations. Whilst it was extremely adventurous, it did promote unsafe themes, especially since this is a children’s book. Throughout the story, after the death of their guardians, the protagonists fail to tell the authories and irresponsibly run away. They rely entirely on strangers (just remember “STRANGER DANGER” people) and break out of a childrens’ home – okay, fair enough, it was run by paedophiles. However, the ending did provoke some emotion in me, however I’m not sure whether it was sadness at the storyline or depression at the anticlimax of it. The use of language was also rather basic, however it did include several, both apparant and subtle, more mature themes, leaving me debate which age-range the book’s aimed at. I do agree with ChunYan that it was a little boring, and I myself, struggled to get through it.

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