Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mackenzie, Lost and Found by Deborah Kerbel


Still mourning the sudden loss of her mother, fifteen-year old Mackenzie Hill feels like she’s drowning in a sea of pain and loneliness. To make matters worse, her eccentric father is forcing her to leave behind the only home she’s ever known and move with him to Israel.

Coming of age in the ancient city of Jerusalem, Mackenzie quickly becomes caught up in a forbidden romance and an unwitting involvement in a shadowy ring of black-market bandits. Can she solve the mystery of the stolen artifacts without betraying her first love? And will she finally come to terms with the grief that had been slowly eating away at her heart…here in the last place in the world she ever wanted to be?

Mackenzie, Lost and Found is a 249 page YA novel which touches lightly on some of the intricacies of the Arab-Israeli conflict (such as security threats, rights to land, and the cultural and religious divide) from the point of view of a Canadian girl.


Mackenzie, Lost and Found was a great read. It was the first book I'd ever read that was set in Israel, which was very enlightening and educational for me. I actually learned a lot about what daily life is really like there. The setting alone really interested me. Mackenzie was a great character. She was your average, everyday girl thrown into a not-so-average situation. It was a lot of fun to see how she handled her predicament.

First off, we learn that Mackezie's mother died prior to the point where the book starts. We don't, however, find out how or why until later. The whole first half I was trying to guess (unsuccessfully, I might add) what happened to her mom. It definitely kept my interest and made me want to find out what happened in the past and what was going to happen in the future.

When Mackenzie's archaeologist father announces that they're moving to Israel for his job, she is ticked off to say the least. When they actually arrive in their new home, though, she is quick to forget her initial reaction. She soon immerses herself in the culture and even learns to speak Hebrew. She meets an American girl, Marla, who is about her age and they quickly become best friends. Marla's played an important role in helping Mackenzie adjust to her new life.

Mackenzie also develops a crush on a boy who works at a local convenient store. Even though he returns her feelings, they can't be together because of his family's cultural belief that he shouldn't date outside of his religion. But when did that ever stop two people in love? They resort to sneaking around behind their fathers' backs. The whole forbidden love thing was fun to read about. Granted, it's been done but Kerbel's take was refreshing and very enjoyable.

I really liked how some of the chapters were written from Nasir's point of view. If they weren't set up like that it would've been hard to tell what his emotions and take on the situation were.

The ending left a lot to the imagination, but sometimes that's just what you as the reader need. I think just about anyone could find something they liked in this fast-paced pageturner. I can definitely see myself reading this again in the future. I hope to see more from Deborah Kerbel in the future!

Romance, culture, mystery, and action? What's not to love?

5 out of 5 stars

Recommended if you:
-like stories set in the Middle East
-like forbidden love stories
-are interesting in reading about multicultural relationships
-want to learn about the culture of Israel
-want a quick read that's fast-paced but still fairly deep


  1. This book sounds great. It would be interesting to see how life is for Israeli teens.

  2. Would you happen to know where she's from originally? Makes me curious when any book mentions Canada, lol.