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The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  316 ratings  ·  106 reviews
A ten-year-old girl is determined to find her missing neighbor, but the answers lead her to places and people she never expected—and maybe even one she’s been running away from—in this gorgeous debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.

Guinevere St. Clair is going to be a lawyer. She was the fastest girl in New York City. She knows everything there i
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Amy Makechnie Hi Lisa. Modern day. But Guinevere, Micah, and Jimmy don't have cell phones. They play outside :)

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  316 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't know what I expected from this book, but it was not what I got. Makechnie has created a world here, not just a strong central character, and there needs to be a sequel as soon as possible. That being said . . . the book is set in the present, but the four children at the heart of it live the kinds of lives we all did back in the day. No cell phones, no video games. They play outside, and the rhythms of their lives are set by the small Iowa town in which they live. Gwyn and her little sis ...more
Jessica Lawson
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't altogether certain what type of book I was getting into from the description. It compared the book to The Thing About Jellyfish, but I really ended up feeling like it's truly an original gem of its own. To me, the voice of the novel was so authentic and natural~ the kind of book that you imagine just flows from the author with not an ounce of revision. Amy Makechnie has created something unique, funny, sad, and SO SO POIGNANT that I have trouble putting my feelings into words. I cried a ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-readers
Though a book for young readers, I was drawn in from the start and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Ten-year-old Guinevere St. Clair's world changes when her father moves her and her sister from New York to his hometown in Iowa, in hopes of triggering a recovery for Guinevere's brain-injured mother. New friends are made, a mysterious disappearance is explored, and her mother's past is discovered. This is a lot for a child to handle, but the precocious Guinevere deftly navigates her new world ...more
Laura Pauling
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I. Loved. This. Book.

I read a lot of middle grade, and per usual, I love the ones that speak not only to kids, but adults. As I feel this one did. I really didn't know what to expect going in, especially when a book is compared to a best seller like The Thing About Jelly Fish. The bar is already set high when you make a promise like that: so truthfully, I expected to be disappointed. So I was happy when part way in I kept thinking, Wow, I love this. I kept turning pages faster and faster.

I loved
Rachel Unklesbay
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair, by Amy Makechnie, is now one of my favorite books. It's beautiful. And my cousin wrote it, which makes me famous by association.

Guinevere St. Clair and her sister Bitty have been moved to their parents' hometown of Crow, Iowa. It's an attempt to get their mother, Vienna, to get her memories back. 

When Guinevere was four years old, her mother's heart stopped beating. After precious minutes were lost, she came miraculously back to life, but without any of her
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I didn’t enjoy this. I thought the writing was a mess and couldn’t get invested in the story or the characters.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was full of wonderful characters and was so well written. I think it shouldn’t be hidden away in Junior Fiction.
Laura Harrison
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic debut author! Great read!
Kelly Farnsworth
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book! What an amazing story for Amy’s debut.
Guinevere’s mother, Vienna, has brain damage from an accident in her teens. It’s frustrating for the family because she doesn’t remember much, including Guinevere and her sister. The family moves back to Iowa with the hope that seeing friends and family will help Vienna regain important memories.
Guinevere becomes friends with the neighborhood boys and soon find themselves trying to solve the mystery of a disappear
Jasmine Chimento
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really interesting kids book. I was expecting a silly light book, but it really wasn't. It's about a girl who's mother has an undiagnosed heart condition. When she wakes, she has no memory of anything that happened after she was 13 years old. Imagine having a mother that doesn't remember you and acts like she is a child? The family moves to her home town to try and spark her memory and ends up in a bit of a mystery with some drama from the past thrown in. The ending was sad and happy and excitin ...more
4.5 stars
What a fantastic read. This story was more entertaining than I had anticipated as it has interesting characters with captivating storylines. I enjoyed the character of Gwyn as she was a spunky, sassy ten-year old who I found, was unpredictable. As her family moves to Iowa to try to help her mother, Gwyn discovers just because Iowa has small town living, doesn’t mean it is short on adventure.

Gwyn’s father is hoping that moving to Iowa will help his wife who has a brain injury. As the fa
Erin Decker
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair is the story of Guinevere, who, true to her namesake, is brave and daring. A lawyer in the making Gwyn, as she is lovingly called by her father and little sister Elizabeth (Bitty), finds herself in her parents' hometown as her family tries to heal from a tagic accident that resulted in permaneant brain damage to her mother. Her mother is stuck in her own past which includes a childhood mystery involving the neighbor Gaysie. Gwyn and Bitty make friends with G ...more
Tonja Drecker
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This read is packed to the gills with emotion, warmth, mystery, hope and heart.

Gwyn moves with her parents from New York back to her mother's childhood town—a very small town—with the hope that the environment will help her mother's memory return.While there, Gwyn befriends the neighborhood boys and soon finds herself investigating a man's disappearance. In the process, Gwyn uncovers so much more than she ever expected to.

This was not the book I expected, and the surprise was a treat. Gwyn is a
April Moody
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10 year old Gwyn has moved from New York City to the town where her parents grew up in Iowa. Her mother has suffered a brain injury and can't remember anything past the age of 13. This means that she can't remember Gwyn or her little sister Bitty. Her father is determined to to do everything possible to help his wife and Gwyn is determined to prove that her neighbor Gaysie Cutter is responsible for the disappearance of Wilbur Truesdale. In her quest to crack the case she learns more than she bar ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best novel I have read in years.

I love the way it uses a child as the voice. She keeps this voice true to the age, yet mature. The issues that come and go in a daily life as summer passes is like Ray Bradbury, fun, fresh and viewed through a child's eyes. You see a child's fears, dreams and aspirations, and this child has more to fear and greater aspirations than most. Like Bradbury the events of that summer get woven into a tapestry that doesn't reveal itself until the end. You find yourself t
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: birbery-2018
This book was written well, but it didn't stay with me long.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I emailed a former co-worker about Amy Makechnie's book, I told her that Gwyn is a new character to adore. As I made progress with the book, I realized that Gwyn was quite a character. Unforgettable? Sure, but Gwyn is also hard to like. You have to give it to her, though, because she was having a hard time adjusting with the long-term effects of her mom's brain injury. This book sends a powerful message about kindness and withholding judgment against people whose stories we don't really kno ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story. For some reason the book had a To Kill A Mockingbird feel to it. Love the characters—especially Guinevere.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I heard about this book from our local newspaper. The author graduated from the same college as I did, which got me a little curious. The book is fine and I like it okay, but I don't know that I would particularly recommend it.
Lindy MacLaine
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strong, unique characters, serious circumstances (a mother with brain damage and a daughter who's still angry with her), surprising friendships and growth. The mystery isn't so much the story as the character development, in my eyes.
Kristin Crouch
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Amy Makechnie for providing a review copy of The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair.
Gwyn’s family has moved back to her parents’ hometown from the big city. Country life takes adjusting to, but with an intriguing collection of small-town characters, it also provides adventure and mystery.
The family has moved because Gwyn’s mother, Vienna, suffers from a brain injury that has her living her life as a thirteen year old. With Gwyn approaching this same age, it's no surprise that Gwyn
Scott McIlquham
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you ever wondered what you'd get if you crossed "Huck Finn" with "Bridge to Terabithia" and "To Kill a Mockingbird", this might be the answer! Long and complex story, but well paced and very readable. The characters are deep and relatable, and the plotlines give your heartstrings a real workout. Highly recommended for 5th grade +
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: popular-fiction
Once I started this book I couldn't put it down! There was a wonderful juxtaposition between the innocence of childhood and dealing with some significant trials - such as having a mother who no longer knows who you are and needing to step into that role for a younger sibling. Amy's breakout book contains some poignant scenes written with laser focus - especially the one with her mother at the grocery store. I could see the exact scene in my mind and could hear each cantaloupe fall. The main char ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
When Gwyn and her family move in with her Nana in rural Iowa, it’s a big change from living in New York City. It’s all to help her mother, Vienna, develop new memories. Vienna remembers nothing since she was thirteen, including Gwyn and her little sister Bitty. Gwyn and Bitty quickly befriend two boys from the neighborhood, Micah and Jimmy. They live with Micah’s mother, Gaysie Cutter, a woman who tries to bury Gwyn alive the first time they meet. So when a man goes missing, Gwyn knows that Gays ...more
While ten-year-old would-be detective and lawyer Guinevere St. Clair might be a handful and quite memorable, for me, it was Gaysie Cutter, her neighbor, who is unforgettable. I found her story and character fascinating, especially considering how she's had to live with the comments of others who blamed her for a childhood tragedy involving Vienna and two other children, one of whom died. Guinevere and her family have moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Crow, Iowa, where her parents grew up in a de ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jed St. Clair moves his family from New York back to Crow, Iowa, where he and his wife Vienna grew up. Vienna suffered a brain injury and can only remember her first 13 years and after reading copious amounts of literature on brain trauma, Jed is hopeful that the move back to Iowa will help Vienna recover more memories. Their two daughters, Guinevere and Elizabeth, better known as Guin and Bitty, have never lived in a rural area and soon experience cornfields, gravel roads, and nosy neighbors. T ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once in awhile I read a book that touches my soul and inspires me profoundly. This is one of those books! Amy Makenchnie nailed every critical element to telling a good story: characterization, plot, setting, voice. This was a spectacular and inspiring story. It's ironic because I was so irritated at the main character, Gwyn for much of the book--so much so, she seemed more like the antagonist than anything else. But this was the brilliance of creating such a believable character, because how th ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few thoughts on this one:
This is probably written as a middle-grade book, but I would personally categorize it as high school or older. This is partly because there is a lot of talk of how/why a character might have been killed, and partly because I think an older teen (or adult) could appreciate some of the depth in the story better.
By the end of the book, I felt connected to multiple characters, and enjoyed reading how various characters’ relationships evolved throughout the story. This bo
Trudy Zufelt
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ten-year-old Guinevere St. Clair and her family leave New York City for Iowa in the hopes of jogging her mother's memory which is stuck at the level of a thirteen-year-old. Guinevere (Gwyn) can only imagine how different her life will be in Iowa and imagines herself riding to her first day of school on a cow. But instead she gets thrust into a mystery she becomes determined to solve. Her neighbor goes missing and Gwyn is convinced their next door neighbor, Gaysie Cutter has something to do with ...more
Lonna Pierce
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly original tale with a core of mystery surrounded by Iowa cornfields, this debut novel glistens with characters as memorable as an endless summer day. Future lawyer, Guinevere, a dogged self-styled investigator, her little sister Bitty (Elizabeth,) their brain-damaged mother Vienna, loving father and dentist Jed, larger than life neighbor Gaysie, quiet Wilbur, irrepressible Jimmy, and Micah, whose sweetness is his superpower. Full of love, loss, secrets, and survival stories, this one has ...more
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Amy Makechnie is the author of THE UNFORGETTABLE GUINEVERE ST. CLAIR.

Like Guinevere, Amy grew up in the midwest and once tried to set sail for the Mississippi on a large piece of Styrofoam (she didn't make it.)

Amy nurtures her love and fascination for the human body by teaching anatomy & physiology to high school students in a small New England town, where they dissect hearts and memorize lon