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Another Morris Award Finalist. I actually read the description on this one. Go ahead. Click the cover, it’ll take you to GoodReads. Read the description. I’ll wait.

See? If you are anywhere around my age, you are already hooked. Also, you will be really sad when I point out that this is historical fiction. So. We have 1993, Kurt Cobain, Ireland, first love, devastating loss.

I really loved this book. I know that it is definitely not for everyone, but it was 100% for me. I was younger than the main character, Maggie, in 93, but she was everything that 10 year old me would have wanted to once I was in high school. It doesn’t hurt that the part of the story that takes place in America is in Chicago, or that the Smashing Pumpkins are mentioned.

I really, really loved this book. I thought for sure that it would win the Morris Award. It didn’t. It did get a nod (in the form of being an Honor Book) from the Printz committee. I actually thought of the Printz at some point while reading this book.

This is one of those books that I don’t want to spoil any part of. Just let me say that it had me tense, worried, and to use a few clichés, biting my nails at the edge of my seat. Maggie is a great main character, flawed but strong. She grows as a person, as is expected in this type of story, but she earns every bit of knowledge she gets. She suffers for the choices of others, her own choices, and just occasionally, it all pays off.

Go. Read it. Now.

What books have you felt like this about lately?

Title: The Carnival at Bray
Author: Jessie Ann Foley
Pages: 235
Age level: YA
Illustrated: No
Who I would give this book to: As cliché as it sounds, I would hand this to high school me, to remind myself to take chances, and that sometimes the consequences are worth the experience.
Setting: Chicago, Ireland, Rome
Favorite Character: Kevin. I know, I shouldn’t pick the addict who is a potential bad influence, but he loved Maggie in a way that the rest of her family couldn’t. He offered her once-in-a-lifetime experiences that she will never forget or regret.
Favorite Moment: A few hours after Kurt’s death. You’ll know when you read it.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Book Source: Library