Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Carnival at Bray
Author:  Jessie Ann Foley
Publisher:  Elephant Rock Productions, Inc., 256 pages
Publication Date:  October 1, 2014

From Goodreads:
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.

I wanted to love this one, but I didn't.  It had a lot of the elements that I like: complicated family dynamics, American girl in a foreign country, cute foreign guy, road trip.  Add to that a 1990s setting with music and specifically Nirvana playing an important part of the story, and I thought I was going to love it.  But I never felt that connection that I wanted to feel. Also, it's not a good thing when you're wondering what in the world the guy sees in the main character.  

The book is written in limited 3rd person POV, but there's one critical scene where the author chose to tell it from an outsider's perspective and so the reader is watching and not even getting any dialogue.  I have no idea why the author chose to do that, but it just made me feel even less connected to the characters.  So while I liked this one, I didn't love it.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. Sounds like something to avoid. I'm sorry this one wasn't good. On to the next, hope that one is great!

  2. Sounds like this one wouldn't be for me. If you're wondering what the guy sees in the main character that's a huge problem. Sorry you didn't like it!

  3. I like that this is set abroad but connecting to characters is everything to me in a contemporary and believing in the romance hah. I also find the outsider perspective to be a weird choice....