A technology-loving 12-year-old girl is convinced that her hippie parents are the ultimate in embarrassing, but then she learns that her friends are struggling with far more challenging concerns.
MacKenna “Mac” MacLeod’s unconventional parents host annual Earth festivals, enjoy goat yoga, and participate in the Portland, Oregon, Naked Bike Ride (albeit with private parts covered by flowers and dreadlocks). Meanwhile, Mac believes that computer coding is her superpower and wishes that her parents were more buttoned-down in their presentation. Driven by the need for funds to attend computer camp, Mac participates in a prize-focused treasure hunt involving Portland’s famed food carts and engages her friends to help. Mac soon learns that all of her treasure-hunt partners have parent-related troubles of their own: family separation, intense pressure to excel in competitive swimming, parental mental illness, and homelessness. All the while she adopts a coder’s mindset to solve problems: both big and small, inanimate and human. Readers will appreciate following the multiethnic food-focused treasure hunt, Mac’s zeal for coding, and her compassionate friends as well as her eventual transformation in thinking about the life of her family. Mac, her family, and her friends present white with the exception of one who appears to be of Vietnamese heritage.
Earnest, entertaining, and original. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)