Carnival at Bray
by Foley, Jessie Ann

Uprooted from Chicago to rural Ireland, Maggie searches for her place in the country she now calls home before enduring a tragedy that sends her on a pilgrimmage to fulfill her uncle's request.

<b>Jessie Ann Foley</b> is a Chicago Public Schools English teacher. She holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Chicago.

It's the eve of 1994, and the grunge movement has reached its fevered height. On Ireland's east coast, 16-year-old Maggie, disgruntled and displaced from her native Chicago, after her flighty mother's recent marriage, listens to Nirvana and misses the uncle in America who snuck her into rock concerts. Her plan is to keep her head down and wait for her mother's relationship to implode, but she finds herself drawn into her new town of Bray and its generations of inhabitants. When her first real loss comes on the heels of her first love, she undertakes a pilgrimage to the mecca of grunge music: a Nirvana concert in Rome. Rock-savvy readers might recognize the time line as the story hurtles towards that infamous April of 1994, but, with or without that knowledge, they will be drawn into the sometimes seedy, sometimes madcap atmosphere of this first novel. A mostly fleshed-out cast of supporting characters and rich storytelling make this appealing both to teens and to the contingent that still has copies of Nevermind on vinyl. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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 transfo rmative 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) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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