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The Carnival at Bray
The Carnival at Bray

The Carnival at Bray



235 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Trade Paper, $12.95 (US $12.95) (CA $15.99)

Publication Date: October 2014

ISBN 9780989515597

Rights: US & CA

Elephant Rock Productions, Inc. (Oct 2014)
Elephant Rock Books

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Winner of the 2014 Helen Sheehan YA Book PrizeIt's 1993, and the Teen Spirit Generation pulses to the hum of the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is plucked from her blue-collar Chicago neighborhood to a small town on the Irish Sea. Surviving off 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 tragedy and first love simultaneously strike, Maggie embarks upon a forbidden quest to fulfill a dying wish. Her pilgrimage takes her from the coastal town of Bray to a dodgy youth hostel in Dublin and finally to a life-altering Nirvana concert in Rome. Maggie finds adventure, amazing music, and a mess of trouble, but also a previously untapped strength in herself to really live. Unlike other YA novels, this story is beautifully character-driven and devoid of far-fetched coincidence. It avoids the tropes of being set in nameless suburbia or told in a sardonic first-person voice. The time period will appeal to the counterculture teens of today who have posters of Kurt Cobain plastered on their walls as well as the older set of readers who grew up with Maggie. Additional bonus features and suggested reading lists create an entire experience for any age.


"The story, writing and talent of Jessie Ann Foley are strong."  —Louise Brueggemann, children's services supervisor, Naperville Public Library

"Foley's young adult debut offers readers a wonderful, unique picture of adolescence from a fresh new voice."  —Emil Ostrovski, author, The Paradox of Vertical Flight

"I really fell in love with The Carnival at Bray!"  —Becky Quiroga Curtis, former YA buyer, Books & Books, Miami, FL

"The narrative subtly and carefully interweaves peer and family drama . . . Every character, every place comes alive with crisp, precise detail. Powerfully evocative."  —Kirkus, Starred Review

"Promising debut, set in the heyday of grunge . . . The narrative voice is clear and compelling . . . 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."  —School Library Journal

"Sweet is the wrong word for The Carnival at Bray, but tender works just fine."  —New City, Recommended Review

"The Carnival at Bray is a complex, eloquent, and deep look at one teen's journey . . . I sense many more awards to come – it's that good. Highly recommended!"  —Wandering Educator

"Beautifully-done coming of age story . . . as bittersweet as a first love and just as unforgettable."  —Forever Young Adult

Author Biography

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