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Thursday, September 9, 2010

May I present...Mackenzie Blue by Tina Wells

Welcome back, everyone!

Today we celebrate a growing series of Middle Grade books that takes life one step at a time through the eyes of an unsinkable lead character and her ever growing circle of friends.  Today I ask you fair readers to step back to your days in Middle School, whether they were many moons ago or just yesterday, and explore the world a new as we highlight three titles from this blossoming MG series.  Today's leading (young) lady and namesake of the series is....



This charming series is written by author Tina Wells and geared toward young girls as they make their way through the ever changing world that is Middle School, but also life in general!  I mean think back to sixth and seventh grade....remember all the "firsts" taking place?  With friends, family, and a trusty journal to sort it all out, Mackenzie Carmichael Blue will come out on top in the end, one way or another...

I was fortunate enough to be tapped to read the first three books in this ever growing series and let me just say, they are quick reads, but lots of fun.  In lieu of a post per book (so as too avoid too much spoilerish information leaking out), we're gonna present this one a little differently.  Today you get a 3-n-1 post!  A little about each, my thoughts on them all and a great series to potentially add to your TBR or Wish lists.  Ready?  Here we GO!

Book 1:  Mackenzie Blue
Zee is a great character with all the worries attached to your typical 7th grader and then some. Between her best friend moving away last year, and the Teen Sing competition, she doesn't need anything new popping up. Oh wait, someone stole her diary! GASP!  







Book 2:  Mackenzie Blue:  The Secret Crush
Zee is trying to find a balance between her new friends, school, and 'THE BEANS', while still keeping true to herself and her long distance friend Ally. All the excitement has her trusting some she should not and ignoring some she should. In the end, she winds up in quite a predicament...but who will come to her rescue saving her day and the musical performance of her young school career?






Book 3:  Mackenzie Blue:  Friends Forever?
Zee is in her own version of seventh heaven.  Her best friend Ally is staying with her for two weeks while her parents travel abroad, 'The Beans' seem to be improving every day, and the class field trip is coming up.  Where are they going?  Why a week long camp adventure, of course!  A whole week with her friends and a little learning along the way...what could go wrong?  *Ahem* Did I mention she has to contend with the mother-of-all stomach aches, mixed signals from her crush Landon, and a overly-hairy, leg-seeking Mountain Man?  Yeah....this week will definitely be interesting....




Yes, yes I did finish these books in a blurring whirl of speed, but honestly...they were good! A middle-grade fiction novel by design and thereby often passed over by readers outside of the intended audience, there is hardly a person that can't take something away from this book. Whether it's the over all message of being true to yourself and showing the world the true colors that make you you (after all, our differences are what make us individuals and should be celebrated), or the definitely "green" push seen in both the school design and class projects, there's something for everyone.  I have to say the green aspect of the books could offer up some great ideas for schools, organizations and even households seeking a new way to help the environment.  The ideas introduced are both new and old, but in either case they are things that you may not have thought of previously doing and since the results are "shown", it presents them in a new light for consideration.

I recently discovered (okay, maybe not actually discovered, but admitted) one of the ways I can tell I really liked a book or connected with the author's writing style...the amount of detail I remember.  For example...all of you avid readers out there can probably back me up on this one too.....when you've read a book and it comes to mind later on, you can remember the story line and whether you enjoyed it or not, but can you recall the character's names?  I don't necessarily mean in full (last names get tricky) but the first names at least....be honest.  I bet you can recall them for the ones you felt strongly about one way or the other, but the in-between's....probably a little fuzzy. 

The author did something simple yet creative for this series that helped cement the idea of 'who's who' in the readers mind....illustrations.  I don't mean full-color-every-other-page drawings; I mean a group drawing at the beginning of the book with each characters name listed by their image.  They're a simple black and white still 'photo' in a sense, but most effective.  Really!  If you asked me about the characters right now, even though I read these three books over two weeks ago, I could still tell you their names and a bit about each.  Don't believe me?  (Oh how I love a challenge.)  You have Mackenzie Carmichael Blue, her brother Adam, best friends Ally, Chloe, and Jasper....guys friends and one potential crush, Landon, Conrad and Marcus...girl "friends" Kathi, Jen, and Missy....and her music teacher, Mr. P.  Yep...all that without consulting the book (or Google...honest!).  Hopefully you and yours make their acquaintance very soon...

In the end, this series of fun stories is all about growing up without losing your sense of wonder, your dreams, your friends, and your sense of self. Though each book carries the characters through mere days and weeks of their lives, it does not stall the storyline while at the same time allowing for many more adventures to come.  Recommended reading for those fans of the Middle Grade genre regardless of age, it's fun for one and all.

Tina Wells
Special thanks to Mallory Jaroski at Buzz Marketing Group for the review copies.  (THANKS!)  Interesting to note, this company is also a creation of author Tina Wells and has a rather interesting (and fun) 'About Me' page telling her story from teen writer to CEO and published author.....definitely worth a read.  For more information, visit their website.  Not ready to say goodbye to Mackenzie Blue?  No worries!  There's more fun to be had in the forth coming books but in the mean time, be sure to stop by the website dedicated to the all things Zee (& friends). 

Until next time....happy reading!



4 comments:

....Petty Witter said...

Back to middle school? I don't know if my memory is that good. I love it that we seem to have more and more books for this age range where the main character is a girl. Thanks for sharing.

GMR said...

Petty Witter: LOL...oh come on, it couldn't have been that long ago! (What am I saying! It can be hard to remember last week sometimes!) Definitely agree on the girls as main character...refreshing indeed to see a mix. ^_^

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

She sounds great for any growing girl :)

The1stdaughter said...

This was such a fun series! I loved it and completely understand what you mean about the name connection thing. Ms. Wells did an excellent job writing the story so that it connects to young and old.

I love how you broke up each book at the beginning of the book as well. Such a great idea! Loved the series, loved your review! :o)

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