St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and here at the B&N Teen Blog, we know there’s only one way to properly celebrate: with YAs set in Ireland! Here are some favorites to squeeze in around your Siobhan Dowd and Eion Colfer collections. Just don’t spill any corned beef and cabbage on the pages.
No Filter, by Orlagh Collins
Emerald works hard to maintain a social media image of perfection, especially since her real life isn’t exactly Instagram-friendly. When she finds her prescription drug–addicted mother unconscious, she gets a serious change of scenery, traveling to spend the summer with her grandmother on the Irish coast. It’s there she meets Liam, an aspiring songwriter who’s also no stranger to keeping certain aspects of his life hidden. But with both of them so used to putting up false fronts, how can they possibly trust each other and explore the chemistry sparking between them?
There You’ll Find Me, by Jenny B. Jones
Finley needs to get her act together for her audition, but ever since her brother Will’s death, drawing the inspiration she needs is like squeezing blood from a stone. But Will left behind a travel diary Finley uses to retrace her brother’s steps on his trip to Ireland, hoping to feel the same peace and divine inspiration there that he did. What she finds instead is Hollywood heartthrob Beckett Rush, shooting a movie and conveniently in need of an assistant. In need of more direction on the Emerald Isle, Finley takes the gig—but with a host of pressures resting heavily on her shoulders, God better show Himself soon or something will have to give.
The Call, by Peadar O’Guilin
If you like your St. Patrick’s Day best with a side of horror, brace yourself for this creeptastic series opener, whose sequel, The Invasion, releases March 27. In this Ireland, Irish fairies the Sidhe have cut off the island from the rest of the world, and now engage in brutal, randomly timed kidnappings of people younger than 18, referred to as Callings. When a teen is Called to the Grey Land, they disappear into an otherworld from which they might return broken, mutated, or simply dead, which is why all Irish children are trained in the art of surviving the experience. That includes Vanessa, whose disability as a result of being a polio survivor might put her at a disadvantage, but whose tenacity and determination will not let her go down without a fight.
The Carnival at Bray, by Jessie Ann Foley
This highly decorated debut is set in a slightly earlier Ireland: it’s 1993, the height of the grunge era, and Maggie has been uprooted from her Chicago home and transplanted to a small Irish town. But it isn’t just her friends and the American music scene she’s leaving behind, and when tragedy strikes, the sleepy, romantic new life she’s cultivating for herself in Bray ceases to be enough, even with new love at her side. Determined to make it to the Nirvana concert in Rome that would ultimately spell the beginning of the end for Kurt Cobain, she flouts the rules and travels first to Dublin before going on to Italy, a trip that will leave her forever changed.
The Spellbook of the Lost and Found, by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Olive, Rose, Hazel, Laurel…it seems none of the girls of Balmallen managed to hold onto their possessions at their town’s last bonfire. Relationships are disintegrating, items are going missing and odd new ones are turning up in their place, and secrets abound. A mysterious spellbook may be key to moving forward, but magic isn’t made to be messed with, and retrieving a lost item means sacrificing something else. Fowley-Doyle’s magical realistic sophomore novel explores what happens when you find something that cannot be unfound.
Now a Major Motion Picture, by Cori McCarthy
This one won’t be available in time for this St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a great way to continue the celebration just two weeks later. What brings Iris to Ireland is her grandmother, or, more accurately, the filming of the movie adaptation of her grandmother’s wildly famous fantasy books. Given Iris is already frustrated at how difficult it is to carve her own creative path when she has such a notorious relative, the idea of being on set isn’t a dream come true. But Ireland is, and so’s the lead actor, Eamon. For a girl who isn’t much into fantasy, is it possible Iris is suddenly living one? Or is there more beneath the surface?