My Books

Currently working on my tenth book for teenagers.

My first nine novels for young adults are published by Poolbeg Press.

From the books page at my website:

I write “contemporary, realistic young adult fiction” or “teen chick-lit” depending on how pretentious (or not) you want to be. (Could I get away with “modern-day bildungsromans”, she wondered idly…) Mostly this means that I write about teenage girls facing various crises – personal, romantic, familial, whatever. I am very fond of first-person narratives, angst, and dialogue, so these things tend to show up quite a bit.

I am never quite sure what age group these books are best suited for (I am not particularly fond of the word ‘suitable’). I like the ‘young adult’ label because it seems to imply that these are a step beyond children’s books rather than a part of them, which means there can be exciting things like sex and alcohol and swearing happening. Say a 10+, 12+, 14+ sort of market. One guideline I’d suggest for readers if that they’re more than two years younger than the main characters, they may feel that the book is ‘too old’ for them. (Then again, if you’re choosing your own books, you probably know what you want to read and what you don’t!)

Every Summer (2009)
This is the summer that will change everything. They hope.

Big Picture (2008)
There’s more to life than exams. Except when it’s the Leaving Cert.

That Girl (2007)
Kim is not the anxious type. Except when it’s her birthday party, and her boyfriend is looking less and less tempting by the day…

Afterwards (2005)
Used to a quiet, uninteresting life without even a boyfriend to spice things up, unlike her two best friends, Claudia’s world is thrown off-kilter when her mum walks out on her and the rest of the family one Tuesday afternoon.

Good Girls Don’t (2004)
Emily believes in happy endings, for both herself and her friends – the trouble is that line between helping and hindering, and the boundaries between friendship, love and lust, and her tendency to cross said lines…

Stereotype (2003)
It’s hard to be an individual and fit in at the same time… and even harder for the self-analytical Abi to figure out exactly what she wants, and how to be content.

Memories (2002)*
Rachel, Danielle and Nicole start off Transition Year, each of them holding onto something that they can’t quite let go of.

Being Her Sister (2001)*
Sisters Rachel and Danielle don’t think they have all much in common, though they’re more alike in some ways than they realise… and as far as Danielle’s concerned, wanting what your sister has doesn’t stop even when you’re teenagers.

Dear Diary… (2000)*
Five twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls record the events of their last few months of primary school in their diaries.

*Dear Diary…, Being Her Sister and Memories are also available in a single edition, Girls On The Verge (2005).


Praise for the books includes:

(on Stereotype)
“… proving that she is no ‘flash in the pan’, her writing gets better and better. Being one herself… Ms Hennessy is highly qualified to write about teenagers – for teenagers. Her style is slick and full of self-irony, with dialogue that is pithy yet gossipy enough to reflect a teenage lifestyle.”
(Books Ireland)

(on Big Picture)
“A realistic portrayal of a vital year in any young person’s life.”
(BookFest – CBI Recommended Reading Guide 2008/09)

(on That Girl)
“[a] compelling book … [Kim’s] confused, conflicting feelings are examined in an honest and witty manner… documents to great effect what it’s like to be a teenager in Ireland today.”
(Mad About Books)

(on Good Girls Don’t)
“Claire Hennessy’s ever-chatty fifth book, though middle class, is never middle-of-the-road. Anti-heroine Emily’s experience of school and out-of-school activities (and we’re not talking hockey) is deliberately and, at times, maddeningly adolescent. Promiscuity, “bendable sexuality” and a suicide are par for the zig-zag course and, though Emily at 17 asserts and shocks, she also survives a world of grim, confused and moody realism.”
(Niall MacMonagle, The Irish Times)

(on Dear Diary…)
“This subtle unfolding of personality is a major attraction of a perceptive, well-written and well-constructed book by a writer who observes with a clear eye and a sensitive heart.”
(Frank Murphy, Children’s Books in Ireland)
“Remarkably assured for one so young, with strong rounded characters, witty dialogue and a solid plot.”
(The Evening Herald)

(on Memories)
“Well-written with funny, hard-hitting dialogue.”
(Mary Arrigan, The Sunday Tribune)

(on Being Her Sister)
“It is quite convincing psychologically in its portrayal of the volatile relationship between two sisters, Danielle and Rachel, with some horrifying insights into over-ambitious mothers and the ease with which even the closest of friends can manipulate and be manipulated.”
(Robert Dunbar, The Irish Times)


You can find out more about the books, including excerpts and details on the writing of each title, at

For ordering the books online, direct from Poolbeg Press, the publisher, is your best bet if ordering from overseas. Also check out Eason’s, Kennys Bookshop, Dubray Books, Country Bookshop, WH Smith, The Book Place, and of course Amazon.

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