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About The Book

Cosmo must journey to the past to understand his future in this humorous, heartbreaking, and brilliantly original debut novel.

Cosmo’s granddad used to be the cleverest person he ever knew. That is, until his granddad’s mind began to fail. In a rare moment of clarity, his granddad gives Cosmo a key and pleads with Cosmo to go to the South Gates of Blackbrick Abbey, where his granddad promises an “answer to everything.” In the dead of night, Cosmo does just that.

When Cosmo unlocks the rusty old gates, he is whisked back to Blackbrick of years past, along with his granddad—now just sixteen-years old and sharp as a tack—beautiful Maggie, and the absolutely dreadful Corporamore family. But much more than time travel adventure awaits Cosmo on the old, sprawling estate: he’ll also discover revealing truths about his granddad, his family, and himself.

Abounding with humor and heart, this extraordinary novel is an original, unforgettable story about lost memories, lost times, and lost lives, reclaimed.

About The Author

Author photograph by Liam Burke, Press 22

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is a professor and associate vice president at the University of Limerick in Ireland, where she lives with her family. Back to Blackbrick is her first novel for young readers.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 3, 2013)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442481572
  • Grades: 5 - 9
  • Ages: 10 - 14
  • Lexile ® 950L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Original and compelling, this is a beautifully written novel about love, loss, history and memory. Wonderful storytelling."

– The Bookseller (UK)

"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."


“The book is a thoughtful blend of time travel adventure and family drama, and Cosmo’s voice balances wry humor with deeply felt angst over his grandfather’s illness Fans of gentle fantasies and readers with relatives suffering similar physical challenges will find Cosmo a worthwhile companion.”


“Debut author Fitzgerald adeptly conveys Cosmo’s love for his grandfather and his fury at the way arrangements are being made all around him; Cosmo’s distinctively Irish speech is another strong point. Watching Cosmo learn what can and can’t be fixed makes for a strong story that’s less about time travel than about love and memory.”

– Publishers Weekly

"Adventures and contretemps ensue, making for a rollicking ride. Cosmo’s fresh and sassy approach to life is true to his youthful perspective. His age is left intentionally vague (as is what happened to his father), and his voice engages. The solidly constructed time-travel plot adds to the fun."

– School Library Journal

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