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.
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 his teacher'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 home life gets harder and the bullies more relentless the gargoyle seemingly brings Liam's stories to life-swooping in to protect and defend him in the most 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?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Eleven-year-old Liam is disappointed when he, his sister, and his mother move in with his grandmother, who has rapidly advancing dementia, in order to help with her care. To Liam and his sister, Jess, it seems like she has a “demon inside,” and he’s terrified when she shouts that she’s “killed before” during one of her outbursts. But after Liam finds his grandmother’s WWII-era diary, he begins to learn that they are not so different. Liam’s fears involve his mother’s drinking (“I realize that wine o’clock is not like bed time or lunch time or home time, because those times don’t change”), as well as and his new school and its bullies. He gains an unexpected ally when his grandmother’s old protector, a stone gargoyle from Notre Dame cathedral, seems to come to life and is able to enact his wildest dreams, which doesn’t always go well. Liam’s sensitive, insightful voice is engaging and easy to identify with, and his evolving relationship with his family as his grandmother’s dementia worsens is tender and moving. Ages 10–12. Agent: Gemma Cooper, Bent Agency. (June)