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You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here


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.

Authors Biography

Frances Macken is from Claremorris, Co. Mayo. She completed a BA in Film and Television Production at the National Film School, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford and is the author of several short stories. You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is her debut work of literary fiction.


‘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

‘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

Leave a comment about this book:


  1. A hugely entertaining read.

  2. Best of Luck Frances, great book.

  3. Loved, loved, LOVED this! Beautifully written and very visually descriptive. Loved following the characters as they grew up and relating to small town Ireland in the 90’s and all its idiosyncrasies. It took me back! Highly recommend.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read. Highly recommend!

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Flew through it and wished for more!

  6. This is a really fantastic novel about female friendship – the joys and the toxicity – and very funny too. Loved every minute of it.

  7. Frances is a story-telling master. She draws you deep into the lives and feelings of these country girls growing up, inevitably bringing your own childhood memories flooding back. Super read 👌

  8. Such an enjoyable read, a definite stuck to my hands to the end book!

  9. This is an outstanding read. It is beautifully written. The character development is very impressive. It’s quite a dark story. I have now read the book twice.

  10. This book was recommended by a friend; I started to read it out of ‘obligation’ but was quickly hooked. Very moving, progresses beautifully.

  11. I bought it when I read the reviews above. Glad I did and can endorse the comments.

  12. Loved this book – so real you could touch it, characters have stayed with me for months.

  13. A gripping page-turner from start to finish

  14. Fantastic writing. A book that has been left on the kitchen table so it can be read again very soon.

  15. A great read, ❤️
    Good luck frankie 😊

  16. A fabulous read. Absolutely loved this book from start to finish. The story came alive and brought me back to my youth. A naturally gifted storyteller- cant wait for the sequel

  17. Such a fantastic read. Great characters, story and descriptions. Couldn’t recommend enough.

  18. A really enjoyable read.
    Reminded me of life in a small town. Hope Frances brings out another book soon. Look forward to it. Well done Frances.

  19. Loved the story line Frances! Can’t wait for follow up book to solve the suspense created in this wonderful story! Well done.

  20. A wonderful read. I couldn’t put the book down.

  21. A beautiful book and very well written. Really enjoyed it.

  22. An extraordinary study of toxic female friendship and the simmering secrets of small towns, often startling and darkly glittering, hope this reaches a wide audience, good luck, Frances!!!

  23. Great book, really enjoyed it, brought me back to my childhood.

  24. A fantastic read, such brilliant characters in a story I didnt want to end.Well done!

  25. Fabulous book well done
    Maura Broderick

  26. Well done Frances. I’ve been following your progress for during the writing of your book.
    Best of luck.

  27. Gripping book the whole way through brilliant

  28. A very witty & enjoyable read. Brought me back to my own rural childhood memories and the yearning for bigger and greater things and city life.The strong vein of jealousy towards other friends was brilliantly described.

  29. A Great read, very gripping and entertaining too. Impossible to put down.

  30. A brilliant read from start to finish, my favourite book of 2020 to date!

  31. A thoroughly enjoyable and well written story about growing up in Ireland and friendships. Couldn’t put it down!

  32. Excellent book, really enjoyed it and so many laugh out loud moments!!! Well done Frances xXx

  33. So enjoyable to read a novel that’s written with such skill and stewards you expertly through a great story. If you’ve ever had a female friend, you’ll recognise so much in this book.

  34. Absolutely loved this book! The character descriptions were fantastic and the story was so gripping, couldn’t put it down! Fabulous from start to finish!

  35. A great read. Really enjoyed it!

  36. Ádh mór, Frances!

  37. Esta novela tiene una pinta estupenda de verdad: parece chispeante y llena de gracia. Me la apunto. Gracias por vuestra recomendación, Lochi y Aoife

  38. Loved it
    Really enjoyed reading it x

  39. Leabhar iontach! Thaitin an scéal seo go mór liom xxx

  40. Brilliant read! Great evocation of childhood and wonderful characterisation!

  41. Really enjoyed this book! I thought the depiction of the various places where it was set was brill, very easy to visualise in your minds eye. Plus it was funny too!

  42. This’s nice and well written.

  43. Really enjoyed the book couldn’t leave it down,a good sign well done,hope you write more

  44. A real page turner! I just didn’t want the story to end n sincerely hope that Frances

  45. This book is a real page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed it n am already looking forward to the sequel, which hopefully will be written in the near future

  46. Fabulous and engaging book

  47. Really enjoyed this book

  48. This is a gripping read- highly recommend. This author has a great grasp of the english language. Laughed out loud at character descriptions. Will def buy next one.

  49. Wonderful debut novel.

  50. Great read, enjoyed this book a lot!
    Well done Frances X

  51. Such a great read. Well done Frances.

  52. Loved this book. Highly recommend it.

  53. Brilliant book.well done Frances
    You got me really interested in reading

  54. Great book .know what to get as present for people
    at Christmas.

  55. A really enjoyable read…..definitely recommend making it a stocking filler this Christmas.

  56. I Didn’t want it to end.

  57. A really enjoyable read, full of psychological interest, insight and acute observation. Very well written with a very distinctive and pleasing narrative voice

  58. Congratulations Frances.

    We need stories like this to help us through these strange times

  59. A great read! I was hooked from the start. Brought me back to my youth! Looking forward to the next one.

  60. A entertaining read…bought during lockdown.Very well written.Looking foward to the book.

  61. next

  62. Well done Francis. .

  63. Well done francis

  64. Very Enjoyable. Well done.

  65. Perfect to read and give as a gift this Christmas.

  66. What a finding during lock down! Highly recommended.

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  70. So much fun!

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