Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Middle-Grade Review: Back to Blackbrick

Just before the end of October, I tried to fit in one last book for the #RIP XV Challenge, so I chose a thin middle-grade novel, Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. I didn't finish it until November, but I was so glad to have read this warm story of love, family, and loss (with a bit of time travel woven in).

Cosmo lives with his beloved Granddad and Gran, but things are getting more and more difficult as his Granddad succumbs to dementia. Social workers come to the house to evaluate him and say he needs to be in a facility. In a moment of clarity, Granddad gives Cosmo a key and tells him he must go immediately to Blackbrick Abbey. Hoping to find something to help save his grandfather, Cosmo sneaks off that night and unlocks the padlock on the old gates with the key. When he steps through, he is suddenly in the past: his Granddad's past! He spends some time there with Kevin, his Granddad's sixteen-year-old self, helping out as a servant and helping Kevin care for the horses. Kevin has a crush on the beautiful Maggie, but Cosmo knows that's not his Gran. He worries about what he's supposed to do in the past and how he can make sure his future happens while also saving his Granddad. Past and present intertwine, as Cosmo helps his friends in the past and worries about his family in his own present, until he is finally able to return.

I loved everything about this novel! Of course, I always love a story that incorporates time travel, and here, it is extra clever, since Cosmo gets to know his own Granddad as a teen. But this novel is also beautifully written, not only transporting the reader back in time but also portraying the kind and loving relationship Cosmo has with his grandparents. The author deals with some difficult topics here--like aging and dementia, plus some incidences of abuse in the past--but she does it in a way that is honest but gentle, from a kid's perspective. Back to Blackbrick is wonderfully written, filled with warmth and love, dealing with issues of loss, all wrapped in a time travel adventure and a great sense of humor. I loved every moment of it.

200 pages, Margaret K. McElderry Books

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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(As you can see from the Amazon listing, this is one of those older books that is sometimes cheaper in hardcover than in paperback in certain places, so I included the cheaper version in each of the following links.)


You can purchase Back to Blackbrick from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:

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  1. I love the idea of seeing my grandparents (or even parents) when they were younger, that would be really special.

    1. Isn't that a fun concept? The novel is filled with so much warmth and love!

  2. Thank you for this lovely review! Warm wishes Sarah MF xx

    1. Thanks for writing such a wonderful book! I loved getting to know Cosmo and his granddad!

  3. Thank you for this lovely review! Warm wishes Sarah MF xx