Summary: Meet Mackenzie Blue, aka Zee
She has it all—smarts, talent, humor, and style. . . .
Is it enough to survive middle school?
Countdown to a 7th Grade Meltdown
1. Your BFF moves away.
2. Someone steals your diary and reveals your deepest secrets—to the entire class.
3. You have one chance to become a rock star and one chance to totally blow it. Guess what!? All three happened to me! School's a disaster already. Don't get me wrong—I love Brookdale Academy and I have a fabulous crew of friends. (At least, I think I do.) But, if I'm going to survive, I need all the help I can get!-- Harper Collins
There are just so many precious books out there right now for middle grade girls. The latest one that I've found is MACKENZIE BLUE by Tina Wells. Booking Daughter almost had a conniption when she saw this book and read the description (and the book even mysteriously disappeared from my desk)! I think the cover alone made her want to pick it up because it's just so appealing -- it has an adorable young girl on the cover with lots of hearts, stars and shine.
I thought this book was very cute. It was a great mix of a lot of elements that I find myself enjoying in middle grade books. The storyline definitely captured my attention, and there was even a mystery about a missing diary that kept me hooked. In addition, there were "real" diary entries on lined notebook paper, loads of text messages (with a glossary in the back for the abbreviations), as well as illustrations of Zee and her friends. It was a very quick read for me, and I think even young girls who aren't big readers are going to be attracted to this book and the story.
I absolutely loved Zee. She seemed to be a pretty normal tween who just happened to live in Los Angeles and attend a pretty posh private school. I especially appreciated that Zee and her friends were all very gifted with musical and singing talents. Zee was actually a singer/songwriter who had dreams of winning the Teen Sing contest; and I know girls are going to really like the "American Idol" performance aspect of the book. I liked the Zee's lyrics and really enjoyed seeing how she learned to express herself through her music.
All of the characters in this story were just terrific,and I think kids will recognize traits from the children they know from school. There was the cute, nice guy that Zee had a crush on; and there was her best guy friend Ally who moved to Paris. In addition, there were also the "mean" girls that almost every tween girl will relate to knowing. I especially liked Zee's best friends Jasper and Chloe who both added some humor to the story as well as a vehicle for Zee to learn some valuable lessons.
This book was not only entertaining, but it also teaches kids some important things. Zee's friend Jasper was very interested in finding ways to make their school "green;" and Zee herself was a little embarrassed that her father drove a big gas-guzzling SUV. I appreciated the author's attempt of bringing the environmental issues to the forefront; however, I really appreciated the moral lessons that Zee learns in this book. When her diary goes missing, she suspects and eventually blames her two best friends. By the end of this book, she learns the value of friendship and how to give and accept apologies. I don't know about you, but I think those lessons are especially important for young girls in today's society!
MACKENZIE BLUE is the first book in a series, and I have a feeling that many girls are going to be wanting more. The second book MACKENZIE BLUE: THE SECRET CRUSH will be available in late 2009; and there is a little excerpt in the back of MACKENZIE BLUE which gives a few teasers. In the next book, the kids in the music class will be making their very own band. It sounds like the next book picks up right where the first one ended!
There is just the cutest website for the book MACKENZIE BLUE, and I thought it captured the essence of the book perfectly. There are so many fun things for young girls to do including: visiting Kathi's closet and dressing her for a photo shoot, learning some green tips with Jasper, identifying which character you are most like, and learning money tips with Marcus. There is also a site on YouTube where young girls can make their own video telling why they are "the real Mackenzie Blue." The buzz around this book is just wonderful and I think middle grade girls are just going to love not only the book but all the hype surrounding it!
Here are Booking Daughter's thoughts:
I thought MACKENZIE BLUE was good because Mackenzie was really funny. I think Tina Wells put Mackenzie in a lot of hard situations like losing her diary and having her best friend move away. I liked how the book ended and how Mackenzie learned to trust her new friends.
I am so excited that I have an autographed copy of MACKENZIE BLUE to share with one lucky reader! If you'd like to win, just leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me one of your favorite books that you read as a child. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this giveaway with a link back this post. This contest is open until July 15th at 11:59 p.m .EST, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!
A big thanks to Kathleen from Buzz Marketing Group for sending me a copy of this book.
Make sure you check out the Mackenzie Blue website for lots of fun activities!