Thursday, 7 February 2013

Review: Back to BlackBrick

Back to BlackBrick
Release Date: 7th February 2013 (Out now!)
Pages: 272
Publisher: Orion Childrens Books
Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Source: Purchased (Waterstones)
Purchase Book: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Cosmo's brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They've been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn't want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in...

Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they're rusty and padlocked as if they haven't been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family's future?

I was recommended this book by a sales assistant at Waterstones. It is the debut novel by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, officially out today!
To be honest before I even heard what it was about, I was sold by the cover. Something about those gigantic gates intrigues me. Before I get into the review I have to say that behind the books, Sarah is a really down to earth woman who surprised me by actually chatting with me on twitter.

This book is not my usual type, no obvious romance, teen drama, supernatural beings... It was however very refreshing and extremely moving. It follows the story of Cosmo and his struggle with dealing with his brothers accidental death and Grandfathers Alzheimer's, told in first person by the boy himself. Whether you know someone with Alzheimer's or not, this book will grab you. At first I thought, Sarah has an amazing insight that makes for an interesting read. As it turns out, her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's which makes this story feel that much more real. When we know someone with an illness, we do everything we can to make their life easier, from "googling" to going to the ends of the earth to find a cure... In this case, traveling back in time to BlackBrick. It is a read that will make any reader know what it's like to have a family member go through the same experience.

There are moments in the book that nearly tore me apart, but that is what pulls you in. The book does start slow but mid way through, it is kicked up a notch and you see a whole other side to the story. We learn that sometimes you wish you could turn back time, change the past to have a better future, but that's all it is.. a wish. We do our best to help those we love, but in the end its just our memories and relationships that count.

A fantastic cover that won me in a second. Without reading the blurb, you feel the sense of mystery and loss. The gate obviously leads you to somewhere... it is up to you to bring your own interpretation to what Cosmo's journey really is.

Final Comments:
I adored this book. the writing was brilliant and the story was gripping. For the first time, I felt like I was living in the shoes of a character, following every step he made and wishing I could do the same things If I was him. I would recommend this more to older children all the way to adults as there are parts that may not really be appropriate for a younger child. My only annoyance was the fact that Sarah had Cosmo insult my hometown of Sydney, saying she could of gone to so many better places. Therefore I am going to excuse it as a teenager venting about his mum going to another country, and not mine in particular.
All in all, I wish Sarah the best in her future novels, if they will be anything like this one, I will be ready to add them to my collection.

I'm giving it 5 acorns as I haven't read anything like this and it is absolutely gripping. It got me!



  1. was so attracted to the book cover, the blue colours are so nice!!!!