The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Carnival at Bray (written by first time author Jessie Ann Foley), I immediately added it to my checkout pile at the library. This novel is set in 1993; I turned 14 that year, so I felt an immediate connection with the story.

Maggie is 16 years old when she moves to Ireland with her sister, mother, and new stepfather. She leaves her grandmother and beloved uncle Kevin behind in Chicago, trading the big city for a small town on the Irish coast. Life is very different in Bray, and while Maggie’s sister acclimates quickly, she finds it a little more difficult to adjust. When Uncle Kevin gives her two tickets to Nirvana’s concert in Rome, it seems like a ludicrous gift. The concert is several months away, but how is she supposed to get from Ireland to Rome? Read more

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

As I mentioned in one of my last reviews, I love browsing the new release section at my town library. I’ve found many wonderful books there, many of which had not been on my radar and that I might not have discovered otherwise. This is where I found Geek Girl, a young adult novel by Holly Smale. The book was published in the UK in 2013, but has only recently been published here in the United States.

Harriet Manners is a very clever girl. Her mind is full of facts about the world around her. Harriet is socially awkward, and at the beginning of the book, she is reluctantly accompanying her friend Nat to the Clothes Live show in Birmingham. While there, Harriet is spotted by a modeling scout. At first, Harriet doesn’t want anything to do with modeling; after all, the entire reason she is at Clothes Live is because Nat has always dreamed of being discovered.

When the modeling agency calls to follow up, Harriet feels conflicted. Modeling has never been a passion of hers, but could it help her improve her image? Harriet is tired of being a geek, and she wants things to change. Harriet usually has all the answers, and could modeling be the answer that she has been looking for? Read more