'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.'
'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