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Cooper, Constance. Guile.

4Q * 4P * M * J

Cooper, Constance. Guile. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 384p. $17.99. 978-0-544-45171-1.

Sixteen-year-old Yonette Watereye lives in the swampy world of Wicked Fork and gets by through cunning and wits--some of hers and some of LaRue's, her cat. Yonie's sodden world is imbued with guile, a substance which emanates from the surrounding waterways and inhabits animate and inanimate objects. The presence of guile in an object can result in either a positive or negative influence on its owner and can only be determined by people who also possess guile, known as pearlies or slyfolk. Yonie is not a pearly, but LaRue is. Unfortunately, creatures with guile, known as slybeasts, are feared and revelation of her powers would almost certainly result in her death. Estranged from her fathers family upon the death of her parents, Yonie yearns to understand the rift that has prevented her from ever knowing her mother's relatives. Guile or no guile, Yonie and LaRue possess insatiable curiosity and quickly become embroiled in determining who or what is behind a series of sinister plots to use guile for evil ends.

Cooper has done an excellent job of creating two compelling personalities in Yonie and LaRue. If, at times, heavy handed with watery metaphors and naming, the swampy world of Wicked Fork is substantial and appropriately eerie. It becomes a fine backdrop for the ensuing adventures and mysteries, of which there is a series. As such, Cooper's tale feels more episodic than nail-bitingly driven toward a single resolution. Still, there is plenty of suspense and Yonie will soon have well deserved fans among those who love a rich, yet patient tale. The ending hints at further adventures. Put Guile in the hands of readers ready to graduate from Jacques' Redwall or Avi's Poppy series.--Lauri J. Vaughan.

Sixteen-year-old Yonie Watereye and her talking cat LaRue traverse the magic-infused swamplands of the Bad Bayous several times over in this disjointed, but ultimately satisfactory, fantasy novel. From its leisurely opening sequence to its rushed climax, the book's dialogue and pacing are equally choppy, stretching the plausibility of the plot and impeding the reader's ability to sympathize fully with the protagonist. The wild originality of the world of the Bad Bayous, however, with its richly imagined folklore and clear New Orleans overtones, should be enough to keep readers engaged until the tidy finale. 3Q, 3P.--Andrew Rule, Teen Reviewer.

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Author:Vaughan, Lauri J.; Rule, Andrew
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2016
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