The Carnival at Bray: A Novel
The Carnival at Bray: A Novel
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Annotation: It's 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement, sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea and wonders if she will ever find her place in this new world.
Catalog Number: #5673700
Format: Paperback
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 254 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-9895155-9-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9895155-9-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2014937608
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
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.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; This promising debut, set in the heyday of grunge, tells the story of Maggie Lynch, a displaced Chicagoan and grunge music fan, living in a quiet town (Bray) on the Irish Sea. Maggie was uprooted from her friends, her music scene, and her beloved Uncle Kevin when her romantically fickle mother married her latest boyfriend, resulting in a move to his hometown. During her time of difficult adjustment to Ireland, Maggie falls in love with Eion the very moment a devastating loss hits her family, leading to rebellion and a journey to Rome to see Nirvana and fulfill Uncle Kevin's wish for her. Foley sets the scene vividly, writing that Bray has a "soggy sort of grandeur" and weaving in the tiny cultural differences that Maggie has to navigate as an American. The narrative voice is clear and compelling, but Maggie often makes decisions that feel incongruous to her character. She has an independent spirit, but Eion only joins her on the journey because she needs a rescue. A self-professed Nirvana fan, which is critical to the plot, she never seems to like the band as much as she is trying to impress Uncle Kevin. However, the secondary characters are complex and sympathetic: Foley has also populated Bray with a host of quirky, loving, and memorable background characters, which enriches the story. Recommended for teens who enjoy travelogue romance stories or novels about rock music.&12; Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Voice of Youth Advocates
The cover design of The Carnival at Bray, depicting frayed denim fabric in the shape of Ireland and studded with safety pins, perfectly matches the content and grunge-era setting. In 1993, sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch moves from Chicago, Illinois, to the seaside town of Bray, near Dublin, Ireland, with her mother, younger sister, and new stepfather. Maggie is traumatized by the death of her cherished Uncle Kevin, a troubled musician and the type of godfather who takes a girl to a Smashing Pumpkins concert when she should be home with a fever. When Maggie finds Nirvana concert tickets Kevin sent her before his death, she runs away from Bray on a short "pilgrimage" to Rome, Italy, with her new boyfriend, Eoin. The rebellion puts them in violation of their Catholic schools' rules.With evocative details, Foley's debut novel truly makes readers feel they are in Ireland in the mid-1990s. However, the close third-person narrative perspective sometimes veers away from the teenaged protagonist and sounds like an adult. The literary style is more akin to "Araby" or another story out of James Joyce's Dubliners than to a young adult novel, and this is both a good and bad thing. Also, Maggie's sister, Ronnie, remains a flat character, although other characters are quite vividly rendered, such as Dan Sean O'Callaghan, a friend and advisor to Maggie whose one-hundredth birthday party brings the community together. This romantic and original book will be long remembered by its readers.Amy Cummins.
Word Count: 70,655
Reading Level: 6.5
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.5 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 172422 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:9.2 / points:17.0 / quiz:Q66686
Lexile: 1030L

ALA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Chicago Weekly Best Books of 2014 A Michael L. Printz Honor Award WinnerWinner, 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book PrizeKirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014 Finalist, William C. Morris Award It's 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she'll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live. "The Carnival at Bray" is an evocative ode to the Smells Like Teen Spirit Generation and a heartfelt exploration of tragedy, first love, and the transformative power of music. The book won the 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize.

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