cover image Mackenzie Blue

Mackenzie Blue

Tina Wells, , illus. by Michael Segawa. . HarperCollins, $10.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-06-158308-7

With a lot of exclamation points and online shorthand (glossary included for newbies), Wells begins her saga of Mackenzie (Zee) Blue Carmichael, whose main goal is surviving junior high. Her BFF has moved “ALL THE WAY to PARIS,” her dad drops her off every morning in a smog-friendly SUV (the horror!), a rich and popular student is determined to make Zee's life miserable, and Zee's diary gets stolen and quoted on the whiteboard in music class. Wells throws in a lot of typical teen insecurity (“Zee felt like the newest inductee into the Geek Hall of Fame”), friendship troubles, fashion turmoil and some not-so-subtle soapboxing on “going green.” Young female tweens will enjoy the IM chats and earnest lists that Zee writes, e.g., “Ways My Life Could Get Worse.” Still, Wells is perhaps trying a bit too hard, with gratuitous pop culture references and frequent use of text-message lingo. As might be expected, things end well for Zee and her gang, but the characters are unlikely to linger with readers. Ages 8–12. (May)