Reader Reviewed Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Back to Blackbrick

Written by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

13+ readers   Debuts of the Month   11+ readers   eBooks   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

January 2014 Debut of the Month Can you change the past? Does knowing more about the past make the future more comprehensible and bearable? Cosmo, trying to come to terms with his grandfather’s failing mental health, explores some of these in an intriguing debut novel which is more a family story than a time travel adventure. When Cosmo’s grandfather hands him the key to the South Gates of Blackbrick Abbey he has no idea what he will find when he steps through them. It’s a fascinating journey of discovery and untangling which helps Cosmo come to terms with the complexities of his own life.


reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Back to Blackbrick a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Extremely unique, this book with grasp your full attention until the very last page'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...


Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

'The ghosts in your life don't ever really go away. Every so often they will whisper to you ...Don't worry about it too much.' When Cosmo keeps his promise to his granddad to go to Blackbrick, he finds himself in the forgotten corner of a distant past, one that his granddad has, strangely, never really talked about. Here friendships come to life, there are new beginnings, a lifetime of memories and everything is still possible...

An extraordinary debut novel with a fantastic voice. This is compassionate, humorous, moving - and tackles some big questions.


Daisy Pennock, 13 I loved the magical feeling in this book and the characters in it were really easy to like, definitely a book I would recommend! Click here to read the full review

Katy Poulter, 12 Back to Blackbrick is amazing...I also think that it is the sort of book that whoever you are, you can find a character to relate to..Click here to read the full review

Morgan Steigmann Extremely unique, this book with grasp your full attention until the very last page...Click here to read the full review

Kalilah K ...a story that sends a thought-provoking message about the importance of remembrance Click here to read the full review


Orion has high expectations for this debut author, and deservedly so. Original and compelling, this is a beautifully written novel about love, loss, history and memory for readers of 10+. Wonderful storytelling. The Bookseller

Back to Blackbrick tackles one of the great social and medical issues of our time, but does so eloquently, sensitively and with knowing humour. We are the sum of our memories, and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald explores this idea in a unique and compelling way. As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable read, the book could help young people to understand how Alzheimer's takes its toll as the disease becomes increasingly common. -- Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive Alzheimer's Research UK

A thoughtful novel about memory, the past and about how our actions have consequences -- Hughes and Hughes Irish Parent

Back to Blackbrick deals with the serious and complex emotions facing a young teenager as he comes to terms with his grandfather's dementia. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald explores the complex emotions surrounding Alzheimer's disease, but in the context of a warm and humorous story exploring memory, family, separation and loss. A highly entertaining read, this will also introduce young people to one of the greatest social, medical and economic challenges of our time. -- Dr Selina Wray, Dementia research scientist Alzheimer's Research UK

The characters are well-drawn in this absorbing and thought-provoking timeslip novel. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald tells a moving and original story of love and loss with both humour and understanding. BOOKTRUST

A beautifully pitched book about seeing a grandparent deteriorate due to Alzheimer's. A pitch perfect book that had me hooked from the first page and refused to let go. THE BOOKBAG

The reader is drawn into a strange world of great friendships, loyalty and tragedy. Back to Blackbrick is a very original and unusual read. INIS MAGAZINE

It is told in such a way that it will appeal to the children for whom it is written as much as it will an adult audience who need and want to understand how to come to terms with terminal illness, disease and memory loss. A book not to miss. ARMADILLO MAGAZINE

A tear-jerker with lessons in how to live life to the full. -- Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES

...a clever, engaging story of a teenager who finds an unexpected way to deal with the gradual disintegration of his grandfather's memories and personality. -- Josh Lacey THE GUARDIAN

A compelling time shift drama about love and loss. -- Sarah Webb IRISH INDEPENDENT

This beautiful novel is deceptively easy to read; the story rattles along while dealing sensitively with issues of love, loss, illness and memory. It's a moving and poignant story, but there are funny moments, too. Back to Blackbrick is an impressive debut novel that already feels like a classic. WE LOVE THIS BOOK

This beautifully-written time-slip novel explores memory loss, grief and family relationships. It's narrated in a lively 21st-century voice by Cosmo, who lives with his grandparents. We learn that Cosmo's mother has gone to Australia to work and that his brother Brian died in an accident. His grandfather, Kevin, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and Cosmo searches the internet trying to find a way to reverse his beloved grandfather's memory loss. HISTORICAL NOVELS SOCIETY

I haven't been able to get Back to Blackbrick out of my mind since I read it. It's a deep, thought-provoking debut by an Irish author, showing the depths of family love and the horror when these bonds begin to fray from tragedy. It also shows the stark class divide in Irish society a century ago, and the power and control held by the rich over their staff, and the portrayal of these themes make this novel more suitable for 12+. Above all, however, this is a novel about families and love and deserves to be read by as many people as possible. -- Helen Corcoran, Grafton Street DUBRAY BOOKS

I enjoyed the book so much. The adventure, the mystery, and the characters all work wonderfully in story telling terms but the big message is that love is the key. To be loved is to be known and without that, we're lost, whatever our circumstances. This book deserves to be read by people of all ages. It's a delight. -- Lindsay Duncan, Patron Alzheimer's Research UK

About the Author

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald was born in New York in 1965 but grew up in Co. Dublin. She's a professor and associate vice president at the University of Limerick in Ireland, specialising in psychology and effective pedagogy in higher education, and has published several non-fiction books on teaching, learning and academic writing. She runs regular writers' retreats for academics and students in Ireland and internationally.

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Book Info


240 pages


Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
More books by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Author's Website


Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Publication date

16th January 2014




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