BOOK REPORT for Who is Mackie Spence? by Lin Kaymer

Cover Story: Splattered Stock Photo

BFF Charm: Meh

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

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Talky Talk: What I Did Over Summer Vacation

Bonus Factor: Wildlife Rehab Center

Anti-Bonus Factor: Semi-Stalker

Relationship Status: It’s Not Me, It’s You

 Mackie SPence

Cover Story: Splattered Stock Photo

There’s a lot going on on this cover: The girl who’s either about to jump off a ledge or twirl gleefully around in a circle, the Grecian column and seagull stencils, the white speckling….It all fits the book, once you’ve read it, but at first glance just sort of looks like an undergrad art project.

The Deal:

Jeremy and Mackie have been friends forever, but it isn’t until the year after Mackie nearly drowns in a boating accident—and begins showing a strange connection to the animals the two work with at the local wildlife rehab center—that the two become something more.

BFF Charm: Meh

Growing up, I was more frequently friends with guys than girls. It seemed to me that the teenage guys I knew were much less worried about what people thought, meaning they were willing to have silly fun, and much less likely to engage in mean-spirited gossip. Hanging out with the guys was just easier. Jeremy, the main character of Who is Mackie Spence?, is a pretty typical teenage guy…if you’ve never been a teenage guy. His thoughts and actions often seemed generic and stereotypical, and, much more “surface level” than I would have expected from a book written in the first person.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

A book in which the main character talks about “not being able to contain their excitement” right before mentioning “woodies” makes for a distinctly swoon-lacking read.

Talky Talk: What I Did Over Summer Vacation

Who is Mackie Spence? is barely 200 pages long, and yet I struggled to get through it. It’s not that it’s a dense read, because it’s not. It’s written in a strange, choppy manner that reads more like a telegraph—Hello. Stop. I went to the beach today. Stop., etc.—than an engrossing story. The editor in me was itching to get out the red pen and throw a few semi-colons into the mix. Lin Kaymer also does a lot more telling than showing. I felt a little like I was reading Jeremy’s high school essay about what he did on his summer break rather than an exciting story mixing teenage love and possible superpowers.

Bonus Factor: Wildlife Rehab Center

Jeremy and Mackie volunteer a few times a week at a local wildlife rehab center. Kaymer obviously visited a center for research purposes, or perhaps had spent time volunteering previously. It was neat to read about the behind-the-scenes action of such a place.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Semi-Stalker

Mackie’s ex-boyfriend is a huge d-bag, and gets a little crazy by the end of the novel. I could recognize that he was bad news right away, but not one of the teenagers in the book bothered telling their parents about it. I was totally Roger Murtaugh–ing the situation.

Casting Call:

Steven R. McQueen as Jeremy

Lucy Hale as Cassandra

Relationship Status: It’s Not Me, It’s You

You piqued my interest, Book, with your blurb and your premise. But when we met in person, you, well, bored me. I wish we could have gotten to the story behind the story before the end, but alas. At least you paid for the meal.

Who is Mackie Spence? is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.