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4/5

Review

Eleven-year-old Liam finds himself embarking on journey of family and self-discovery when he moves to the small town of Swanbury, to be close to his Grandma who is suffering from a demon inside of her (dementia). Alongside his best friend Daisy, his dog, he stumbles upon a stone gargoyle in a spooky graveyard but rather than be scared by it, he finds himself inexplicably bonded to it. Not long after, Liam discovers his Grandma's diary, a diary which talks about Stonebird, a gargoyle so similar to the one he had seen, that it had to be the same one! The power of a good story is never more evident than in this novel; Liam is a powerful storyteller about Stonebird and the wonderful ways he protects him and his family and magically Stonebird carries out his bidding, becoming warm and slowly coming to life before his eyes. But when a scared and bullied Liam spins a yarn about Stonebird getting revenge on a bully, he soon discovers that stories can be scary. Personally, I think this is a very important novel for young people to read. It is a hopeful tale, but one that touches upon so many essential life lessons: dementia, truancy, bereavement, depression and lastly but most importantly, hope and remembrance. Although I'd be lying if I denied shedding a tear or two, the story left me with a hugely warm embrace and a skip in my heart. Beautiful. 352 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jodie Brooks, school librarian

Reviewed by: Jodie Brooks