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You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here

'This atmospheric debut looks like a rural Irish coming-of-age novel, but it’s cleverer, darker, more unreliable.' Daily Mail

A FINALIST FOR THE 2020 PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE

AN IRISH TIMES, IRISH INDEPENDENT and SUNDAY INDEPENDENT 'TITLE TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2020'

Katie, Maeve and Evelyn – friends forever, united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town of Glenbruff.

Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. That is, until the beautiful, bold Pamela Cooney arrives from Dublin and changes Glenbruff forever...

Told from Katie's witty, quirky perspective, Frances Macken's debut beautifully captures life in a small town and the power of yearning for something bigger. Filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here takes a keen-eyed look at the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the way that life can quietly erode our dreams unless we're willing to fight for them.

'This was perfect. Shades of Elena Ferrante in the story of a country girl who leaves and the friend who stays behind. Light of touch but not light of substance. Great stuff.'

– Kathleen MacMahon, author of This is How it Ends

'This atmospheric debut looks like a rural Irish coming-of-age novel, but it’s cleverer, darker, more unreliable.'

– Daily Mail

'A fresh, clever look at the intricacies and jealousies of female friendship. This debut reads like a modern, mysterious version of Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls.'

– Irish Examiner

'Hugely enjoyable, profound and humorous.'

– Mayo News

‘Small town familiarity meets the Utopian promises of Dublin city as school finishes. Alcohol, grief and the pressure to have 'stories' to bring home to those at home destroy the silvery-spun webs of friendships. Astute and sharp, this is sublime.’

– The Book Nook

'Few writers have articulated the intricacies of friendship – the dependency, the uncertainty, the fragility of the pecking order – with as much authority….a debut bursting with heart.'

– Irish Independent

'I loved this one... In some ways, this novel reminded me a fair bit of My Brilliant Friend, just a different time and place, but connected by those themes of friendship, moving on and breaking free.'

– Theresa Smith Writes

'Macken's downplaying of major events, such as Pamela's disappearance and Katie's college years, resonates with the solipsism of youth... [She] gets a lot of mileage from Katie's beguiling voice and sardonic humor.'

– Publishers Weekly

You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here vividly captures life in a close-knit community, while examining the intricacies and anxieties of female friendship… Katie is a vibrant creation, whose insights are often fresh and startling… The ups-and-downs of going places is ultimately what makes the narrative come to life.’

– Irish Times

'This exploration of the seething hinterland of growing up, with its often unspoken passions, unrequited longings and intense jealousies, is melancholy, funny, dark and affecting.'

– Deborah Kay Davies, author of Reasons She Goes to the Woods

'A subtle, powerful debut novel. Quietly packing her emotional punches, never predictable, Macken’s prose is clear-eyed yet lyrical, and in Katie, she has created a truly touching (and at times very funny) protagonist... A new voice in fiction to celebrate.'

– Anna Beer, author of Patriot or Traitor

'Readers will be charmed by the picture of Katie’s circle of friends and acquaintances... Macken's first novel will suit young adult and adult readers alike.'

– Booklist

'Frances Macken's You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here charts the friendship of three small-town girls from their childhoods through to their early careers, exploring envy and self-belief with consistent, natural humour and spot-on observations.'

– Caoilinn Hughes, author of Orchid & the Wasp

'It's funny, dark and brilliant on toxic friendships. I highly recommend.'

– Jackie Lyman, Dublin City Libraries

'Frances Macken paints the very real scenario, that we leave, just to say that we did… A breath-taking novel from Irish writer, Frances Macken, shows us that while we may anchor our dreams around others, we can achieve them on our own.'

– Waterford News and Star

'Written with a keen insight into female friendships and dripping with wit and charm, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is a truly immersive story. Macken has a visual eye, bringing simple scenes to life with a carefully chosen word or perceptive detail, and her ear for dialogue is pitch-perfect. The ways in which she captures the pull of the places we call home and the people from our childhoods who shape our lives is also impressive... Reminded me of the best of Maeve Binchy's work, albeit set in a more modern era.'

– Reading Matters