By Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, published by Orion
“Just because you can’t see someone anymore doesn’t mean that they’re not a part of you…”
Cosmo is a boy in a complicated family- his brother, Brian, died at the age of ten, his mother has moved to Sydney for ‘business’, and now Cosmo lives with his Granny Deedee and Granddad Kevin. But Granddad seems to be losing his memory, and although Cosmo denies it, he knows he has Alzheimer’s Disease and there isn’t much time left before his Grandfather is moved to a special home.
When Cosmo says his goodbyes to his Granddad before moving to his Uncle’s home, his Grandfather gives him a key- a key to a strange place called BlackBrick Abbey. Out of curiosity, brave young Cosmo takes the key and heads to the Abbey- but as he steps through the gates, he finds himself transported to his Granddad’s teenage past. He’ll discover hidden, dark secrets and lies, and some very special- and also evil– people…
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would! The book pulled me in straight from the beginning, and kept me reading; I ended up ploughing through this in about a day. The main plot of the Grandfather’s Alzheimer’s made this book a really emotional roller-coaster; and I got a real insight to a family torn apart by its effects. The authors’ father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as it says in the Authors Note, and that made the story all too real, and devastating.
As well as the emotional side, there is also an imaginative, fantastical twist which I really wasn’t expecting. Cosmo stepped through some kind of portal to about seventy years ago, and played a huge part in the teenage lives of his grandmother, grandfather, and his grandfathers’ first love. The story was really well told, with a serious time-paradox-twist but it wasn’t too confusing thanks to the fantastic, consistent narration! The ending… well… lets just say it brought a tear to my eye. Or two.
My only problem with the book is that it was, even at 230 pages, too short for me (although that was probably because I became really emotionally attached to these characters, and didn’t want to let them go)! Overall, I think this is one of the most stunning debuts I have read so far, from an author to keep an eye on. I’m sure we’ll hear some more great titles coming from Fitzgerald!