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Mackenzie Blue: Friends Forever?

Review

Mackenzie Blue: Friends Forever?

Twelve-year-old Mackenzie Blue Carmichael, or Zee to her family and friends, is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Her seventh-grade class is setting out on the Brookdale Mountain camping field trip for a whole five days. Zee is nervous about being away from her parents and older brother for so long, but she will have her friends by her side. What could be better than that?

Well, having her BFF Ally by her side, too! Ally and Zee have been friends forever, but then Ally’s family moved to France. While her parents are traveling, Ally came back to stay with Zee’s family for two weeks. And since Ally used to be a student at Brookdale Academy, she gets to join the others for the camping trip. What could go wrong?

As with all adventures, lots! First of all, there is no cell phone coverage up on the mountain. And then there are the biting bugs, wild animals, quaint toilet facilities and the tromping around in the wilderness getting sweaty in front of her crush, Landon. But all of that is worth it to spend time with Ally and her new closest friend, Chloe. Unfortunately, Ally and Chloe aren’t getting along as well as Zee had hoped. Zee stresses on how to get them to like each other. They had all planned to be in the end-of-camp talent show together, but feelings are getting hurt and plans are falling apart.

And then there’s the other stress factor --- the spooky legend of the Mountain Man. Zee’s older brother is the first one to mention him, a crazy old hermit living alone on the mountain, who comes down to the cabins searching for his missing leg. Surely, her brother is just teasing, but Zee can’t help the shivers of fear that ripple down her spine. And then, late at night, when the others are asleep, she hears thumps and a voice calling out for his missing leg. Could the creepy legend actually be true? Zee turns to her diary to unload her fears, tears and cheers, hoping she can survive her week at camp.

In FRIENDS FOREVER, Tina Wells takes spunky Zee to the mountain wilderness, opening up a whole new set of adventures/disasters for her to survive. The storyline moves fast with hilarious ordeals, spooky encounters and a bit of romance. Diary entries, including pro/con lists, heartfelt concerns and funny drawings add a shift of pace and extra insight to the main character. And speaking of the main character, Zee is lovable, full of energy, adores music, and has a big heart, just begging readers to be her friend. She deals with real-life problems, creating a bond with her audience. Artist Michael Segawa does an excellent job on the illustrations, which are full of character and very expressive.

This is a charming and fun book, sure to be a big hit with Mackenzie Blue fans, along with those new to the series, as one does not need to have read the first two installments to enjoy this one. And fans will be happy to know that book #4, MIXED MESSAGES, is releasing in November.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on June 22, 2010

Mackenzie Blue: Friends Forever?
by Tina Wells

  • Publication Date: June 22, 2010
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061583146
  • ISBN-13: 9780061583148