cover image Breda’s Island

Breda’s Island

Jessie Ann Foley. Quill Tree, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06320-772-1

Foley’s (You Know I’m No Good) atmospheric story follows 12-year-old Breda Moriarity during a transformative summer in her mother Maura’s native Ireland. Pregnant with Breda at 17, Maura left her stern widowed father for Chicago, building a life for them there as an undocumented immigrant and opening a successful beauty salon while avoiding any mention of Breda’s father. When Breda, lonely for her mother’s attention, turns to petty thievery, Maura sends her for the summer to taciturn, aging Granda, a vigorous farmer and respected storyteller of Irish legends who has secrets of his own. In County Kerry, on the westernmost edge of Ireland, Breda and Granda’s relationship proceeds from rocky to grudgingly respectful to loving. As Breda explores the countryside on her mother’s refurbished bike, she makes real friends for the first time, discovers her skill for playing Gaelic football, and tries to learn her father’s identity, all while falling in love with her family’s farmland. The narrative arc builds steadily in a book that stands out for its distinctly Irish language and poetic landscape descriptions: “gray crashing water, silent green cliffs, and jackdaws and gannets wheeling against the cloud-streaked sky.” Characters cue as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (July)