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 skeptical…it’s been a while since I’ve read anything that was even close to being in the same genre of books as this one. I still don’t really know exactly how to classify this one, so instead of trying, let me tell you a little bit about this little gem.
Yonnie Watereye (not her real name, but the name she goes by), lives in the swampy area of Wicked Ford, where the water is full of guile, which is a substance that gives objects certain powers. While she is sixteen and lives without any family, she has her cat, LaRue, who is not only her best friend, but like her sister. Here’s the interesting thing about LaRue – she’s a cat who can talk. Yep, this book is chock full of interesting dialogues between Yonnie and LaRue, and while at first the writing kind of irked me, I started to look at LaRue as being an older sister like figure to Yonnie, and I started to enjoy the conversations they have. Since LaRue is essentially a slybeast (an animal who was affected by the guile), and the people in Wicked Ford and surrounding areas do not take kindly to slybeasts, Yonnie and LaRue try their best to keep the fact that LaRue can talk a secret.
Yonnie makes barely enough money to get by, and she manages this by offering her services as a pearly, which is an individual who can sense an object that has been touched by guile and has powers. Only, Yonnie isn’t really a pearly…in fact, she has none of the talents it takes to perform these seeings. But LaRue does, and the two of them find ways to make this work. It’s complicated and kind of a struggle, but Yonnie does what she has to.
There is A LOT of stuff going on in this book. For one, Yonnie is trying to find out who her father is, which is a complicated endeavor. She’s also trying to track down a guile filled object for a girl she met, Justine, whose father is acting strangely, and she believes it has to do with something like this. At the same time, Yonnie is also trying to live a somewhat normal life (aside from having a talking cat and an interesting profession), and she encounters all kinds of interesting people and situations on the way.
There are parts of this book that make you laugh, and certain parts that make you cringe (such as all the horrible things Yonnie and LaRue have to endure), but they all just add to the awesome experience of this book. I found myself referring to the map in the front of the book quite often (glad it was there), because it’s kind of hard to imagine without one. The book itself is just so engaging and enjoyable to read – the story flows pretty smoothly and that makes it really easy to get engrossed in. The characters are a little different that we’re used to seeing, but it makes the book even better, in my opinion.
I read through this quickly, because the story kind of just sucks you in and makes you keep reading to see how it all turns out. There are some twists in here, and some parts that make you wondering “wait, what,” but I absolutely loved this book, and I loved how it deviated from the typical YA novels and really shook things up. Guile was definitely a fun read, with a bit of fantasy and mystery, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face (did I mention it has a talking cat?). So if you’re looking for something different than you’re used to, and you like adventure (which this book is full of!), then check this one out!
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.