The Carnival at Bray byJessie Ann Foley
Sixteen-year-old Maggie and her nine-year-old sister have been living through her alcoholic mother’s poor choices in boyfriends since they can remember.
But their grandmother lived in the apartment upstairs, and they could always escape there. Maggie’s uncle Kevin lives there as well, and while everyone else said he was a rock star wannabe deadbeat, Maggie adores him. It is 1993 and Kurt Cobain reigns.
Then mom finds a new boyfriend who wants to marry her and move the family to Bray, Ireland. Life changes in a hurry.
Nine-year-old Ronnie thrives in the environment. While Maggie is not popular with any clique in her new school, she does fine a friend in 99-year-old Dan Sean, and with seventeen-year-old Eoin, the grandson of the local bartendress.
Then tragedy hits, and Maggie makes a daredevil run to Rome to the Kurt Cobain concert, taking Eoin with her.
A good story we can say little about.
There are some predictable turns in the road, and some nice moments. The writing is complex and strong. It has garnered many awards. However, how many teens will want to read about this time period?
None of my teens even know who Kurt Cobain was- in Seattle! This is really for older teens and adults who can stick with a book, as this one wanders slowly down that narrow Irish path.
Recommended 14 up.