THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY by Jessie Ann Foley
Kirkus Star

THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY

Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1993, 16 year-old Maggie and her family move from Chicago to small-town Ireland with the latest of her mother’s romantic partners.

Moving to Bray, Maggie leaves behind warm, practical Nanny Ei and beloved Uncle Kevin, a 26-year-old who plays in a band, sneaks her into grunge rock concerts and makes himself responsible for Maggie’s musical education. Arriving in Ireland, Maggie finds that she’s no better at fitting in with the girls of St. Brigid’s than she had been at her old school. Instead, she forms a loose web of connections with local figures: Dan Sean, a Bray legend at 99, whose home becomes a refuge for Maggie in times of family conflict; Aíne, the bookish classmate with whom Maggie reluctantly goes on double dates; and Eoin, the gentle boy with whom Maggie falls in love. The narrative subtly and carefully interweaves peer and family drama—much of it involving troubled Uncle Kevin—with the highs and lows of the grunge music scene, from the transformative glory of a Nirvana concert to the outpouring of grief around the death of Kurt Cobain. Every character, every place comes alive with crisp, precise detail: Maggie’s heartbroken mother “howling along in an off-key soprano” to Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Dan Sean welcoming Maggie with a Cossack’s hat and a hefty glass of port.

Powerfully evocative. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9895155-9-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Elephant Rock Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2014




BEST TEEN REALISM OF 2014:

ChildrenA TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman
by Padma Venkatraman
ChildrenTHIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko Tamaki
by Mariko Tamaki
ChildrenGABI, A GIRL IN PIECES by Isabel Quintero
by Isabel Quintero
ChildrenTWO GIRLS STARING AT THE CEILING by Lucy Frank
by Lucy Frank

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenGIRLS IN THE MOON by Janet McNally
by Janet McNally
NonfictionHEAVIER THAN HEAVEN by Charles R. Cross
by Charles R. Cross
ChildrenTHE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand
by Cynthia Hand
ChildrenTHE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR by Jessica Warman
by Jessica Warman