If Scout Finch had had a sister, she would be future “world-famous lawyer” Guinevere St. Clair.
When Guinevere, now 10, was 4, her mother, Vienna, lost all memory of her life after the age of 13, and now, believing she is 13, often acts like a difficult older sister. Jed, Gwyn’s father, has relocated the family to Crow, Iowa, where he and Vienna grew up, hoping that the familiar surroundings will help her regain her memory. Iowa is a world away from Gwyn’s beloved New York City. People greet one another on the street, it’s always quiet, and it smells like cows. And speaking of cows, Guinevere gets her very own registered bovine, whom she names Willowdale Princess Deon Dawn. (Sadly, her plan to ride Willowdale like a horse doesn’t work out.) Not long after the St. Clairs arrive, Gaysie Cutter tries to bury Guinevere alive—at least that’s how the imaginative Gwyn sees it. When a local farmer goes missing, Guinevere puts on her lawyer hat to investigate. She’s certain short-fused, unpredictable Gaysie murdered him. She just has to prove it, but it won’t be easy, because it seems as though everyone in seemingly all-white Crow has a secret. With the same nostalgia-tinged humor as Dead End in Norvelt and A Long Way from Chicago, Makechnie’s debut will have readers in stitches. Gwyn’s voice is distinct and likable, carrying readers through the eventful narrative with ease.
Guinevere St. Clair is indeed 100 percent unforgettable. (Fiction. 8-13)