Griffin of Darkwood
by Becky Citra
After 12-year-old Will Poppy's mother dies, he finds himself moving to a run-down castle with an aunt he loathes and servants who are up to no good - and that's just the beginning of his troubles.
Winner, Bronze medal in the Preteen Fiction: Fantasy category at the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards
Will Poppy has always been fascinated with writing - he thinks there's something almost... magical about it. But when his mother dies, Will finds himself stuck living with his awful aunt, unable to write a single word (despite the fact that two Muses will not leave him alone) and handed a mysterious package which includes an old picture of his grandparents and a piece of cloth with the words "The Griffin of Darkwood" on it.
When his aunt decides to move both of them to a small village, Will is excited for a new adventure - in a castle no less! But after a rude welcome to the town that includes stories about a curse, and an introduction to the servants of the castle who evidently mean to cause him harm, Will's sense of dread about the whole village rises.
What is the curse the villagers claim has been on the castle for hundreds of years, and what does it have to do with the disappearance of a young girl forty years ago? More importantly, what's the Griffin of Darkwood, and what does it have to do with Will and his family?