by Mike Revell
Release date: February 2015
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, mainstream

Reminiscent of Skellig and My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece, Stonebird is a beautifully imagined story about memory, family and the power of stories

The importance of memories and the magic of stories take flight in Stonebird, a haunting and heartfelt story of family, friendship and finding ones way in the world.

When 10-year-old Liam's family moves to be near his grandmother who is suffering from dementia, he's left to navigate his new neighborhood, school and grandmother's illness all by himself; His mom regularly looses herself in a bottle of wine, and his sister sneaks out to who knows where shortly after the "wine o'clock hour" as they've come to call it, strikes. And it isn't easy.

Liam struggles to remember his grandmother before she took ill and turned into a demon who eats birthday cards; find a way to return a smile to his mother's face; and ward off the bullies at school. The one place he seems to find solace is a rundown church where he finds an over-sized gargoyle that keeps drawing him in. After learning that they were created to protect people from demons and evil spirits, he can't seem to shake the image of the old stone bird and its presence weaves itself into the stories Liam tells himself and others, so much so that Liam starts to believe that it might be alive. Mrs. Brown, the new teacher in town, maybe the only other person who knows the truth.

Shy Liam's only means of confidence during shared story time is to tell tales of the gargoyle. His classmate mock him at first but are soon are captivated by his storytelling, and Mrs. Brown's slight nods of encouragement fuel Liam's belief in the bird and lead him to think that she knows a thing or two about the old bird herself.

As his grandmother's health worsens and his mother becomes more distraught, his sister becomes more of a stranger to him, and the bullies threats become more relentless, the gargoyle become more real to Liam, seemingly bringing his stories to life, swooping in to protect and defend him in unexpected ways. But is the old stone bird really alive, or is it just Liam's imagination finding ways to help him through a difficult time?

updated 2015-05-28

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