This is potentially an outstanding book but the author had tried to introduce too many variables for the young adult reader.
Basically, Connor is a middle school aged boy who appears lost in his ability to identify with others and to validate his own sense of worth. He is introduced to his dying, estranged grandfather who, in various tales of war, fairies, black magic and other tales, attempts to offer a "scared straight" approach to the troubled young Connor. Intermingled with the stories are brief glimpses of Connor's mother who has her own set of issues.
It would be interesting for the author to take only one or two of the stories and develop them around Connor's basic growth issues and then, explore those issues in greater depth. The author hints at the turmoil of the young man but the reader simply does not get a deep enough sense of the psychological make-up of the main character.
The stories are fascinating but they need to be woven into the fabric of Connor's life issues so that they will be meaningful and lasting lessons. Simply relating stories to a teenager and expecting those stories to result in drastic lifestyle changes is simply not realistic.