Reviews for The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair

by Amy Makechnie

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Guinevere St. Clair's family moves from NYC to her parents' small Iowa hometown in hopes of alleviating her mother's memory loss from a traumatic brain injury. There ten-year-old aspiring lawyer Guinevere investigates a neighbor's disappearance and learns details of her family's past. Even when she's misguided, self-assured Gwyn is a winning heroine in this story with a creative premise. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* I was 10 when Gaysie Cutter tried to kill me. The me here is Gwyn St. Clair, who, along with her first-grade sister, has been moved to Crow, Iowa, by her father, Jed, so their mother, Vienna, can be cared for where they grew up. Vienna, who had a medical emergency, losing oxygen to her brain, has lost many of her memories, but Jed, who reads voraciously about neural connections, thinks she can rediscover them. Gaysie, big, loud, and often one step away from blowing her stack, grew up with Jed and Vienna, and together, they endured a traumatic sledding accident in which another child died. Now, on her ramshackle farm, Gaysie parents her son, Micah, and Jimmy, an abandoned boy. Gwyn is befriended by the boys, but after a traumatic introduction to Gaysie, Gwyn is wary of her. When an elderly farmer goes missing, Gwyn is determined to prove that the volatile Gaysie murdered him. The smart dialogue and flowing description, catching the beauty of corn and cows, highlights the eccentric, yet wholly believable characters. This is part mystery, part study of the human heart, and pierced with rays of hope. Everyone here, adults and children, have lessons they need to learn, and first-time novelist Makechnie offers them those paths in startling ways.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-6-Impetuous and mischievous, sixth grader Guinevere (Gwyn) relocates from New York City to the small Iowa town where her parents grew up. Her dad recently moved them in the hopes of finding a cure for her mother who has struggled with memory loss since Gwyn was very young. When her only friend, Wilbur, goes missing, Gwyn suspects her next-door neighbor, a giantess named Gaysie Cutter. Gwyn's detective work is complicated by Gaysie being the mother of Guinevere's new friend Micah. Gwyn and her little sister Bitty soon find all kinds of trouble, mostly in attempts to prove Gaysie's crimes. In the background, but well integrated, is the story of Vienna's own daredevil ways. Gwyn is on the wrong track from the first and her determination blinds her to what readers gradually begin to see. The underlying mystery keeps the pages turning, and the strength of plot and characters overcomes the somewhat stereotypical portrayal of a small town. VERDICT A promising debut and a strong secondary purchase for middle grade collections seeking realistic fiction.-Carol A. Edwards, formerly at Denver Public Library Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.