A living stone girl leaves the isolated mountain where she lives to seek a stonemason who can keep her family alive.
Father, a stonemason, was human. He carved their family: animals, two birds, and Mayka, a 12-year-old girl made from gray mountain granite. Stone beings don’t cry, taste, sleep, or tire—but because Father carved marks on each one giving them life and their own unique stories, they move, talk, think, and feel. Since Father died, wind, water, and time have been wearing down the family’s markings; recently, Turtle’s markings so eroded that he stopped living. So Mayka gathers her courage and hikes down from their idyllic mountain into the city, accompanied by the flying stone birds. Her quest for a stonemason to recarve their markings leads to many revelations, each serious yet presented gently. As Mayka learns that Father was famous, that most stone beings serve flesh-and-blood “keepers,” and that a city stonemason has invented a carving that enslaves, she begins to understand that she and her fellow carved creatures can interpret and stretch their own stories—even when those stories are literally carved in stone. Mayka’s kindness and steady loyalty, her friends’ animated and varied personalities, and some downright brilliant problem-solving will carve themselves into readers’ memories.
Thoughtful, colorful, strengthening, and understatedly tender. (Fantasy. 9-12)