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Mackenzie, Lost and Found by Deborah Kerbel
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Mackenzie, Lost and Found

by Deborah Kerbel

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One of the most important experiences of my life was living in a foreign country, so I’m always up for reading a story about someone in a similar situation. In many ways, this book delivered that nostalgic feeling, capturing the lost feeling when something terrifyingly new happens and you have no idea what you should be doing. But in other ways, the book fell short of making me see how life-changing the experience was for Mackenzie.
Mackenzie is a good narrator in the sense that her voice always felt authentic. As she struggled to find her way in Jerusalem it felt true to the situation. There are times in the book when the narrative shifts perspectives, and this didn’t work for me. It interrupted the flow of the story for me because of the change from first person to third person. I’m okay with changing perspectives, but to change tenses as well tripped me up every time.
An aspect of the story I really enjoyed was Mackenzie’s view of the Israeli/Palestinian tension. This isn’t something that is explored in depth, but it is vital to the story as it is such a big, everyday presence in Jerusalem. Although it would be easy for Mackenzie to choose a side based on the feelings of those around her, she refuses to do so because she doesn’t completely understand it. Her closest friend in Jerusalem takes issue with the fact that Mackenzie doesn’t immediately side with her, but I admire the fact that she doesn’t allow others to dictate her feelings on something.
I found the romance with Nasir to be so-so as I felt that the main attraction to each other was the allure of the exotic; it felt very superficial. While I don’t have a problem with the idea that it wasn’t an earth-shattering, soul-shaking romance, I was underwhelmed. There is, however, a twist to their relationship, which gives it a little more intrigue than a standard crush, but even that left me wanting more. And even though I am okay with open-ended conclusions, the ending of this story seemed unresolved rather than open to interpretation.
This is a good story for getting an idea of what it is like to move to a country that is, in almost every way, unlike home. Mackenzie’s experiences change her in some wonderful ways; unfortunately, many of the experiences that brought about those changes are glossed over in order to focus on her forbidden romance. ( )
  ericajsc | Dec 10, 2010 |
Reviewed by Breanna F. for TeensReadToo.com

15-year-old Mackenzie Hill is still recovering from the loss of her mother when her father announces that they're moving to Israel because he was offered a position at a university there.

Being torn away from the only home she has ever known in Toronto, Canada, is not Mackenzie's idea of a good time. Her father promises that if after three months she still doesn't like it there, she can move back to Canada, and she plans to do just that.

But soon Mackenzie meets an American girl named Marla who has lived in Israel for a few years. They discover that they have something in common, and she helps to show Mackenzie around. In no time at all, the two become best friends.

Also, Mackenzie discovers an amazingly cute boy named Nasir who works at a little shop near her apartment. Soon (even though Nasir's parents would forbid it if they knew) Mackenzie and Nasir start dating, little to the knowledge of Mackenzie's father and Nasir's parents.

Soon the three-month period is up - and Mackenzie doesn't mention going back home. Things are going so well and Mackenzie is actually happy with her life. But one day something happens that will quickly change everything..

First off, I have to say that this book was pretty intense. There was indeed a point where I cried. The whole book moved at a pretty fast speed, and near the end it was action-packed, which was a surprise (but it was a good surprise). Not one part of MACKENZIE, LOST AND FOUND was dull to me.

After the first few chapters of just Mackenzie talking it switches, and most every other chapter after that is a chapter told from Nasir's point of view. So the story is told from two different points of view, which I always like.

Ms. Kerbel is a strong writer and I definitely look forward to reading something else by her. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in what's going on in the Middle East, and to readers who don't mind a heart-wrenching story. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
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After the death of her mother, Mackenzie and her father move to Israel, where she befriends an American girl dealing with a similar tragedy and begins dating a Palestinian boy, which leads to her involvement with a black-market crime ring.

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