Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Guile” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.70  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In the Bad Bayous the water is thick with guile, a powerful substance that wreaks unpredictable changes on objects, animals, and even people who soak too long.

Sixteen-year-old orphan Yonie Watereye scrapes a living posing as someone who can sense the presence of guile, though in fact she has no such power--it's her talking cat, LaRue, who secretly performs the work.

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Clarion Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Guile, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Guile

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine.
Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?
0 (if the characters are POC to go with their Creole accents, it isn’t mentioned)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

There are some books you instantly know you want as soon as you hear about them. Others need some time to grow on you. Guile was neither of these. To be entirely honest, I requested it on a whim based solely on the fact that one of the maj
Stephanie Ward
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

'Guile' is an intriguing YA fantasy novel that blends several genres such as action, adventure, suspense and mystery, together to create an original story that will have readers guessing until the very end. I'm a big fan of thrillers - including mysteries and suspense - so when I read that this book was a blend of those genres along with fantasy elements, I couldn't wait to read it. It lived up to any hopes and expectations I may have had for it, and turned out to be a very quick and en
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I bought this book soon after its release date back in 2016, prompted by its promises of magical "guile" water. However, once the book landed on my bookshelves, its intrigue faded and I never got around to reading it ... until now.

The first third of this book was aimless, if interesting. Yonie Watereye is introduced as an orphan sixteen-year-old who makes her meager living posing as a "pearlie," a.k.a. a human who is able to sense if objects have been imbued with magic. The actual pearlie (or sl
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Guile by Constance Cooper so much so I was able to devour it in one day. First of all you just don't drink the water it contains guile which can change a person making them good or evil. Yonie is a sketchy character who makes her living as a "*pearly" someone who can see guile in other people or rather sense it's presence. This is a great read for anyone especially those who love Young Adult literature. I was provided this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Kelly Gunderman
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Guile is one of the most original, thought provoking novels that I have read in a very long time. It takes all the usual young adult cliches and throws them overboard, and it's just great. It isn't the same book you've read at least 10 times - Guile is a breath of fresh air that will captivate you from the very first page.

I have to admit, when I started reading Guile, I was a little's been a whi
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Excellent setting, decent characters, lots of minor plot lines that just disappear. Cooper's background as a short story writer is evident.
I recommend this for middle grade readers, not older YA. The plot lines aren't satisfying and the characters are too superficial.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely spectacular. A detailed, sweet, adventuresome tale filled with wonderful characters in a unique world. Definitely read!!!
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this debut novel by Constance Cooper. As I read it, I kept picturing the setting as a fantastical version of New Orleans. Yonie Watereye is a fake seer (aka a Pearlie) and her cat LaRue is the one actual doing the "readings." Yonie protects LaRue from those who would harm her and LaRue helps Yonie survive. Yonie leaves on a quest to find out the truth of what happened the night her parents were murdered. Along the way, readers meet her Bayou cousin Gilbert, a crazy aunt and a c ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Talking cats!!! Bayou setting! 1800s-esque class divides! Dialect! Strange, uncanny substances in the water! Realistic, self-shot-down opportunities at romance! Basically no romance in the book! I love love loved how the setting drove the book.
Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I might have had a more pleasurable reading experience with this one, had my eARC not been so badly formatted – no capitalisations and words randomly broken up, which made things rather frustrating.

That said, Guile wins points for its unique setting and concept – a bayou where inhabitants mainly get around by boats, surrounded by swamp water that contains a magical substance called guile, which has the ability to turn objects or people a tad more strange and magical than they were before. Citiz
When I first read the description for this book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I love the idea of guile, and it effecting the people and objects it encounters. And I love the idea of this teenager going on investigative adventures with her talking cat. This sounded like such a fun and different fantasy book, that I knew I wanted to get my little paws (hehe) on it!

Yonie is a great heroine! She cares about people, shows compassion and tenacity, and just wants to help; a good character for yo
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
There's Power in the Water

When Raincoast Books first pitched the synopsis of Guile by Constance Cooper, I was hooked! A bayou related title with fantasy AND a mystery? I was so in! It's not often I come across a title with a bayou-like setting (I'm intrigued by the marshy lands and the low hanging trees) and absolutely knew Guile was a must on my to read list.

"The clouds drenched the land unrelentingly for the next four days. The series of storms was violent enough to make canoe travel impossibl
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved Yonie, I loved LaRue, the world was a lot of fun and there's a mystery to solve. Lots of good things on the pages as we follow Yonie and LaRue on their search for the person selling dangerous Guile affected objects. What is Guile? This is was a great concept of how things become magical based on some murky swamp water and how long the relic sits in it. Something a little different, but a little familiar, and added a very unique element to the story.

We don't really get to see the mystery
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book from a SFWA giveaway via their New Release Newsletter.

Typically when a reader chooses a book, they are in for a rewarding experience.
However, when a book chooses the reader, something extraordinary and magically happens.

Originally, I thought I had chosen the book because it was my #1 pick from the giveaway, however, as I became immersed in Yonie Watereye's world, it soon became clear that Guile chose me as a reader.

I loved everything about this novel, the setting (a mix of Veni
Also posted on my blog at The Humble Book Nerd

Enchanted objects, talking animals, and a treasure hunt. This was charming for sure, and unique, and it threw out any and all cliches you expect with fantasy, adventure, and mystery novels. Unfortunately, it just didn’t sink its claws into me. There was nothing wrong with it, it’s just that it never had the I-gotta that Stephen King sets so much stock in. No urgency to unravel the mysteries and see how it all t
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. It's a completely fresh plot with a talking cat. There is no romance. The main character is Yonie. A girl who has lost it all, but is doing well for herself. The only thing she has left is her pet cat. The theme of this book is a repeated one, a girl on her own trying to find who she is and where she belongs. However it's done in a very unique way. For starters Yonie doesn't need a guy to help her. The love in this book is familial.
This is a fantasy story. The author never e
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was quite impressed without this book. Last year, I read a fair bit of fantasy & young adult novels, and Guile is probably one of the most original books I've read in a while. (At least for this year, haha, so far!)
I enjoyed the story line and how the bayou/new Orleans style was woven in. The entire world, the guile and the pearlies, are quite fascinating, and I wish this wasn't a stand alone novel. As much as I did like that the author left bits up to imagination; ie threw you into her w
Jan farnworth
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This book got a 3 star rating from me as the first half of the book really kept my attention, i liked the whole back story about Yonie and her cat larue. Ya really get caught up in the investigations she does with her cat as she trying to make a name for her self in the nicer part of the bayoue. For me the story started to fall flat about the middle when Yonie starts investigating about the roots of her family. The author has a great imagination and the details about the life and times of the ar ...more
Danielle Hammelef
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a fast read for me becuase the author put me right into a fantasy world without me even questioning it ever. I think the setting was well done. The characters are well-drawn and not just cardboard cutouts. There are so many mysteries for this girl to solve, however, that I couldn't give it a 5 star rating. The book needed more time to explore these relationships/mysteries than was given for the reader and sometimes I felt as if the red herrings were dismissed to quickly. Overall, a ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For full review please go to:, Twitter @camartinez and Facebook "5 Girls Book Reviews"

REVIEW BY: Arianna, age 13 years, 2 months


This book was intense and more than delivered on the promise of a great book!

I loved that the author made a mundane thing like water possess a power to change everything.

My favorite part is when Yonie looks for her city because she undertakes quite the adventure. I think it is lovely because Yonie never gives up. I li
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a great book! Although there were some slightly unsettling (view spoiler) undertones. Talking cats, magical water, houseboats, THE DELTA REGION?
Not to mention: family, friends, truth and sacrifice.
Guile was well written, beautifully plotted with as many twists and turns as an episode of Bones or something of that ilk, enchanting and poignant, and pretty gosh darn funny. Dense, rich history and culture, and beautiful world building.
Great read!
Laura Phelps
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: possiblemsba2016
This is an unusual fantasy and it includes a magical, talking cat (so of course I loved it). Because the world-building doesn’t resemble anything else I’ve read, it took me a little bit to get oriented, but once I did, I was very invested in the outcome. For strong middle grade readers who like fantasy, this will be a winner.
Lilly Ridge
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
This book was enjoyable and refreshing. No angst and love triangles, just a girl and her talking cat on an adventure in the alternate-future Southern bayous full of strange magical objects. I picked it up off a shelf in the library without knowing anything about it but was quickly hooked by the tone and atmosphere of the novel.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Every page left me wanting to read the next. You follow the many journeys of Yonie Watereye, a spunky girl cast out by her family, living in a world where the river water holds mysterious properties. This is a must read for all fans of adventure books tinted with a touch of dystopia.
Christa  Seeley
I’ve been feeling a little burned out on Young Adult fiction lately, but I was drawn to Guile because it just sounded so different from everything I had been reading.

Read my full review at Women Write About Comics
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Just can't get into this one; stopping at just over 100 pages. There's girl and a talking cat with magic powers given by the "guile" in the waters of the Bayou and a search for a family lineage and it is all just a bit too slowly unraveling for me.
Feb 10, 2016 marked it as goodreads-win
Goodreads win. Will review once received.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
An adorable talking cat and a likeable MC. (view spoiler)
Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Clarion Books
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Never Weres
  • The Ultra Violets
  • 乙嫁語り 6 (Otoyomegatari, #6)
  • House of Dark Shadows/Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings, #1-2)
  • BUZZ!
  • The Assassination Game (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, #4)
  • Kith (The Good Neighbors, #2)
  • Murder on the Disoriented Express (Illusive, #1.5)
  • The Immortal Crown (Saga of Kings, #1)
  • The Books of Great Alta  (Great Alta, #1-2)
  • Entangled (Entangled, #1)
  • Fortress of Mist (Merlin's Immortals, #2)
  • Tune: Vanishing Point (Tune, #1)
  • The Black Butterfly
  • The Warble (The Bernovem Chronicles Book 1)
  • Pull Down the Night
  • Crossing the Line (The Raven Files, #1)
  • Burning Midnight
Note: there is more than one author with this name in the Goodreads database.

Constance is the author of the fantasy novel GUILE and various science fiction and fantasy short stories and poems.

She grew up mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area, with one year spent in Surrey, England and a chunk of another in Newfoundland, Canada. She studied journalism at UC Santa Cruz, where she hiked to class throu
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Apparently, deep down I believe that our spirits get stirred in with those of all the other living things that have ever existed. Like gumbo," she added.
"Well, thanks, Yonie. I was already cold and tired and scared out of my wits, and now I'm 'ungry too.”
More quotes…