Mac on the Road to Marseille by Christopher Ward
Published March 28, 2015 by Dundurn
Young Adult/Middle School
Format: e-book; 164 pages
Also By This Author: Mac in the City of Light
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Fifteen-year-old Mackenzie returns to Paris to attend the Christmas Eve wedding of her Dad’s old friend, Rudee Daroo, and the love of his life, dancer Sashay D’or. Mac is told about the annual New Year’s taxi road rally, this year hosted by the Marseille Marauders, the nastiest lot of drivers you’ve ever seen.
Partnered with hulking cabbie Blag Lebouef, Mac manages to convince her parents that the road rally is more like a carefree drive in the French countryside than the death-defying cutthroat rivalry it’s always been. Negotiating brutal weather, cryptic signage, outright sabotage, random flocks of sheep, and zigzagging back roads, Mac and Blag might be the perfect combination of cunning and brute strength, though they are both extremely strong-willed and rarely agree.
On the road, she makes the startling discovery that the clues the drivers have been given during the rally could lead to the discovery of some valuable missing artwork. Is that worth losing the rally over?
So, I did not know that this book was a sequel before I started reading it. Oops! Although, to be fair, it wasn’t listed as a sequel when I requested to review it. About a quarter of a way through reading it and not being able to understand who all the characters were, I did some searching on Goodreads and found that Christopher Ward published Mac in the City of Light a year before Mac on the Road to Marseille, and suddenly the book became easier to follow & enjoy.
Mac is a 15 year-old California native who is visiting France when she gets coerced by a friend to be a passenger-seat navigator for her friend Blag who is competing in a scavenger hunt type road race. Mac has to figure out destination points during the race based on clues laden with “French-isms.” This part was particularly enjoyable for me because I could make out the puns and the allusions to French culture.
Weaved in among the road race, there is also an art theft mystery that Mac becomes entangled in. If you decide to read this book for yourself, don’t become confused when the story suddenly plunges into the world of art museum robberies. But don’t worry, the road race and the art theft are woven together at the end.
Read This Book If…:
…you have a vivid imagination (it will help bring the descriptions of France to life).
…you enjoy the thrill of a race!
…you are familiar with France and/or enjoy experiencing it through literature.
This book felt more appropriate being labeled “Middle Grade/Middle School Reading” than “Young Adult.” If I was a parent to an imaginative pre-teen, I would probably purchase Mac on the Road to Marseille and it’s prequel Mac in the City of Light for him/her to read. Christopher Ward’s style of writing would be even more enjoyable if it was read aloud, with all the emphasis on the French idiosyncrasies and nuances :)