The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair

Amy Makechnie. Atheneum, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1446-4
This spirited and layered debut follows the move of 10-year-old narrator Guinevere (Gwyn), a feisty aspiring lawyer, from New York to her parents’ rural hometown of Crow, Iowa, in the hopes of jarring her mother’s memory. Makechnie sensitively sketches Gwyn’s complicated feelings toward Vienna, “formerly known as my mother,” who suffered a traumatic brain injury when Gwyn was four. Now Vienna cannot remember anything that happened to her since she was 13, and she vacillates between youthful ebullience and stubborn meanness. For Gwyn, Iowa offers “an exciting and fresh start, like the witness protection program,” and she forms fast friendships with two local boys. She also becomes curious about the disappearance of a local man and the secrets surrounding her parents’ enigmatic friend, Gaysie. Gwyn’s dentist father, obsessed with the brain and devoted to his ailing wife, proves a distracted, preoccupied parent to Gwyn and her sister Bitty, allowing other memorable characters to take on greater significance. Ultimately, Makechnie’s novel is a big-hearted adventure about coming home. Ages 8–12. Agent: Zoe Sandler, ICM Partners. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 06/12/2018
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-5344-1448-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-5344-1447-1
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