MacKenzie’s Last Run
Published September 1, 2022
About MacKenzie’s Last Run
Thirteen-year-old MacKenzie (Mac) Lawrence secretly blames himself for his father’s death in a mall shooting. In his grief and guilt, he has pulled away from everyone, even his twin sister Tessa. When their mother announces her plans to remarry barely two years after Dad’s death Mac is furious and runs away in an attempt to force her to break off the engagement.
Unfortunately, nothing goes as Mac plans. He ends up seriously injured, miles from home, unable to reach out for help, while clues he inadvertently left behind suggest he’s been kidnapped—possibly by Mom’s fiancé—and set his twin sister Tessa on a desperate search to find him. But she’d better hurry, because the clock is ticking, and Mac is running out of time.
The first thing I saw as I opened MACKENZIE’S LAST RUN to read it was the article from the paper reporting on his disappearance and police believed he was a victim of kidnapping. I thought it was an interesting choice from a writing perspective to start with that. So that, as a reader, I was kind of anticipating that event at some point. I worried that it would make the story anticlimactic.
But as I read, I found myself only more deeply hooked into what would happen to Mac and whether Tessa would be able to find him before it was too late.
I read the book in one sitting. I kept reading one more chapter all the way until the end, when I finally felt I could breathe again.
For me, not only could I not put the book down, but the story pulled me in despite its beginning. To overcome a reveal like that on the first page or use it in such a clever way made me feel even more like this book was worth reading.
I loved the way memories about Mac and Tessa’s dad were dropped in to critical moments in the story, and the way Mac’s adventure helped him face some of the things he’d been, well, running from. Both Tessa’s and Mac’s characters drew me in and had me rooting for them. Each chapter is told from Tessa’s or Mac’s point of view. I loved the balance that brought to the story and the exploration of their relationship as twins who’d lost their dad.
All in all, I very much enjoyed this book, and I hope the author writes lots more.
Content warning for brief descriptions of gun violence. Some descriptions of injuries from a knife and a fall.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Mac and Tessa are twins whose father was killed in a grocery store shooting.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Tessa’s mom makes her and her brother attend church with her. She says Mac “needs it.” Tessa is okay with church, but doesn’t seem to feel much of a personal connection to faith. In one scene she tries to pray for Mac, but worries she’s doing it wrong because she forgot to say, “Amen,” so she starts over.
Some description of the shooting that killed the twins’ dad.
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