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Rebel McKenzie

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  384 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Rebel McKenzie wants to spend her summer attending the Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari, a camp where kids discover prehistoric bones, right alongside real paleontologists. But digs cost money, and Rebel is broker than four o'clock. When she finds out her annoying neighbor Bambi Lovering won five hundred dollars by playing a ukulele behind her head in a beauty contest, Rebel d ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Disney-Hyperion
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YA Books with Pageants
15th out of 28 books — 6 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2012
246th out of 346 books — 611 voters

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Community Reviews

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3.5 Stars

Originally reviewed here.

Rebel McKenzie is (practically) a paleontologist (the Ice Age kind, not the dinosaur kind). Her biggest dream is to attend a dig camp this summer where she will have the opportunity to hone her skills, but alas, the family fridge broke down and funds were unavailable. No problem, she decides she’ll just runaway from home to attend. Unfortunately for Rebel, she doesn’t make it very far…just far enough to destroy her feet, lose a bet to a convict, be grounded till
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Rebel McKenzie feels like a book for kids and as a middle-grade book, that's probably a good thing. One of my friends (Cough Megan at Book Brats Cough) keeps talking how a lot of middle grade books feel like they're being written for adults who are sentimental about the innocence of youth rather than for actual children who are in the midsts of it.

There is no real sentimentality in Rebel McKenzie. It's a book very much in the present, with a main character who is flawed and funny. Whereas adults
Ana (Owl Always Be Reading)
Rebel McKenzie is a wonderful book for young middle school teenage girls filled with comedy. Rebel dreams of digging up ancient bones at Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari, but her parents tell her that it’s too expensive and they can’t afford sending her away. So what does she do? She runs away. The funny thing is that she doesn’t get very far and if brought back home by the police. But Rebel is on a mission, she needs to find a way to come up with the money to go digging. Then she finds out about a ...more
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a nove
Sherry Philippus
3.5 stars
Texas Bluebonnet nominee 2014-15

Good book! Definitely different from your typical middle-grade novel...Rebel is a gritty, edgy little redneck gal and it's difficult to like her. It's gratifying to see some growth and change in her character, though I would have liked to see more -- I'm afraid her self-realization was so subtle and so late in the book that many kids aren't going to pick up on it. I'm also not sure Rebel is likable ENOUGH to keep kids reading. The kid is SO sarcastic that
Teresa Garrett
Rebel McKenzie is set on attending a paleontology summer camp and in facts runs away but is caught before she gets very far. Her punishment? She is sent to live with her sister for the summer and babysit her 7 year old nephew. Rebel is not too excited about living in a trailer (mobile home according to her sister Lynette). Rudy her nephew is a strange precocious child who plans funerals and eats lunch with God. Lacey Jane, the bully, next door turns out to be a great source of information and he ...more
Erin Wynn
I thought the book rebel McKenzie was a good book. It's basically about Rebel Mckenzie wants to spend he summer going to the Ice Age Kids dig and Safari camp, which is a camp where kinda discover prehistoric bones alongside real paleontologists. But there's one problem the dogs cost money and sheis broke. But she finds out her neighbor won $500 by playing the ukulele behind her head in a beauty contest. So rebel decides to enter the Frog Leaf Volunteer Fire Department beauty pageant. It turns ou ...more
2014-15 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee. give this one another half star = 3.5 stars. How bad can a book be when the first chapter is titles: Never Wear 7 Pairs of Underpants? Love the little bit of southern dialect and idioms, red-neck feel to this book - did anyone else think it has a 1970s feel? Poor Rebel, the reader will sympathize with her situation, especially the readers from large families who get stuck with babysitting chores. The recipes at the end remind me of the humble mustard sandw ...more
Addison Children
Fun chic lit for the elementary set. Rebel wants to go to Paleontology Camp but lacks the funds. Her older sister is working and attending beauty school so Rebel is recruited to live with her in her house trailer providing live in babysitting for her 7-year-old nephew. While there she meets a stuck up 12-year-old beauty pageant queen and makes friends with the girl next door who has been bullying her nephew. The friends decide to enter a local beauty pageant themselves with some help from a form ...more
I'm trying to read some more middle grade books. So why not one about an aspiring paleontologist who is ripped away from her dream of going to the Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari... and finds herself in a beauty pageant?!

So I liked this book. I think I could recommend it to younger readers. I'm just not entirely sure how successful this would be for middle schoolers -- maybe 6th graders? I did enjoy the small town environment, such a difference to my urban experience. And I liked the depiction of t
The Library Lady
I loved this. More importantly, my 13 year old thought it was excellent!
Rebel has a name that fits many young tweens. She is spoiled as her sister points out, but I think Revel just has never had any real responsibility, that is until now. I loved the strength of the characters, wonderful summer read, or middle of the winter to warm up if you live anyplace cold! Rebel knows who she is and what she wants to be, unlike many of our tweens today, but she has a long way to go to make her goal, and learn her lessons along the way.

Great book for girls 9-13 or so. Strong ch
Eh--the book was okay. It had a lot of promise at the beginning when Rebel runs away. She is such a funny character with a good head on her shoulders--I especially like her dream to be a paleontologist--but not the dinosaur kind, but the Ige Age kind. I just thought once her summer moved to the trailer park, the story went downhill. I liked she made a friend at the trailer park, but I thought it was rather silly that the older lady was giving Rebel and her friend "pageant tips" while the two gir ...more
Lee Anne
Interesting and believable characters and a fun story!
Delightfully funny! Rebel is shipped off to her older sisters house for the summer after trying to run away to Ice Age Dig and Safari Camp. She is charged with babysitting her nephew while her sister goes to beauty school. She learns a lot about kindness and compassion as she learns more about her neighbors. She even signs up for a beauty pageant after finding one annoying neighbor won $500 after winning the title. Although not a professed beauty queen, Rebel learns how much work it takes to get ...more
Mary Kay
This book has a reading level of 4.4 - first half of fourth grade, making it a perfect fit for my school shelf. But I don't think it will spend much time there! This book is a perfect fit for middle year girls, who might not feel like they fit in the world of girls becoming interested in clothes or boys.
Rebel McKenzie is a misfit, a strong personality, and a good friend... and she does it all with her own style. This one is rightfully placed on the Bluebonnet 2014 list. A quick, entertaining r
Rebel McKenzie, budding paleontologist, must spend the summer with her sister, Lynette. While Lynette goes to Beauty School, Rebel must watch after her nephew, Rudy, the 7-year-old who eats lunch with God every day on the front porch. Added to this quirky case of characters is Lacey Jane, the next door neighbor who bullies Rudy; Bambi, a 12-year-old beauty pageant contestant who write cutting beauty columns; and Doublewide, the Siamese cat that weighs 21 pounds and watches reruns of Wagon Train. ...more
Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom follows twelve year old Rebel who is sent off to live with her poor sister to spend the summer babysitting her nephew after running away because she was upset about not being able to go to paleontology camp. Rebel finds out that things are very difficult for her sister who is attending beauty school after a divorce. The trailer is small and there isn't a lot of food. She makes friends with the neighbors, decides to enter a pageant and end up making a difference i ...more
Sep 25, 2012 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2012-new
Once Upon
Rebel McKenzie is a wonderful book for young middle school teenage girls filled with comedy. Rebel dreams of digging up ancient bones at Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari, but her parents tell her that it’s too expensive and they can’t afford sending her away. So what does she do? She runs away. The funny thing is that she doesn’t get very far and is brought back home by the police. But Rebel is on a mission, she needs to find a way to come up with the money to go digging. Then she finds out about a ...more
Hafsah Laziaf
Originally Posted Here

Rebel Mackenzie’s summer wish: Go to the Ice Age Kids’ Digs and Safari in Saltville, Virginia; right alongside real paleontologists. Rebel Mackenzie’s summer life: Nothing's free. She ends up babysitting her 7-year-old nephew, Rudy, in a sizzling trailer,“mobile home” with no air conditioning. Rebel’s desperate to make money to go to the Dig. So when she finds out about the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department’s beauty pageant contest, she decides to enter. And win. After
Review originally posted

Guys, the protagonist of Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom wants to be a freaking paleontologist – isn’t that all you need to know? No? Okay, fine. Let’s discuss Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom because I have lots of things to say.

Rebel McKenzie had me in absolute stitches. I was literally cracking up on almost every single page due to the crazy, wackiness of Rebel and the people AND the animals in her life. Yes, even the animals.
Jan 19, 2012 Krystal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc

How far would you go if you were a twelve year old girl and really wanted to go to Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari camp? After a failed runaway attempt, Rebel decides to enter a beauty pageant in the hopes of using the prize money to fund the camp’s tuition. The process of preparing for the pageant teaches Rebel about more than posture and make up, though. Rebel learns valuable lessons about family and herself.

Candice Ransom wrote from her main character’s point of view very effectively. Driven and
I am almost afraid to admit how many times this book reminded me of my own childhood, but that led to multiple laughs during this book. I had to screen capture a couple of pages and text them to my little sister because it was uncanny how many pieces of my childhood would show up on a page. I don't laugh out loud very often while reading, and this one made me crack up many times. Rebel is into paleontology (ice age, not dinosaurs), but instead of getting to spend the summer going to a camp where ...more
Sharon Lawler
Rebel McKenzie has one immediate goal, to attend the summer Ice Age Kid's Dig, and one long term goal, to become a paleontologist. Money for the "Dig" ends up being spent to replace the refrigerator, and she ends up spending the summer babysitting, without pay, for her much older sister who has decided to become a beautician. A carnival and kid's beauty pageant comes to the small town, and Rebel, who is really not the beauty pageant type, sees the $250 prize as a way to earn money for the August ...more
Alyssa (The Shady Glade)
This one was cute. I loved the unique storyline. Rebel's a 12-year-old who's forced to sort of become "mom" for the summer as she watches her 7-year-old nephew while her sister Lynette goes to beauty school during the day. That would be a good storyline by itself, but add in Rebel's determination to win the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department Beauty Pageant so she can get the money to do a palaeontologist dig in August, and things really get interesting. There were lots of laugh out loud moment ...more
Stacy S.
Generally a sweet book, but I didn't like the ending and I would have liked the author to go a little deeper with the Lacey Jane character. There was a lack of depth and empathy, that some of my favorite children's books manage to capture. This story had great characters but it stayed on the surface which makes it an easy independent read for younger students, but not a class read-aloud quality book.
Rebel McKenzie had planned on spending the summer at the Ice Age Kids' Dig and Safari, putting her paleontologist talents to work. But money's tight, and when Rebel's older sister Lynette moves back to town with her seven-year-old son, Rebel finds herself living with Lynette for the summer in her mobile home (only trashy people say trailer). Rebel cares for Rudy during the day while Lynette attends beauty school and works part time at the local salon. Not one to sulk for too long, Rebel makes th ...more
Pleasantly cornball light read about a spunky little girl and her wacky family/neighbors living in a Virginia trailer park. Good dialogue, good maligning of prissy little girls, believable relationships. Also, a fat, all-powerful cat like Georgia Nicholson's cat. Not demeaning towards trailer parks at all. Lee Smith Jr.
Interesting and well developed characters. Rebel learns a lot about life the summer she lives with her sister who is in beauty school. The mobile home park is populated with caring people, pets with personality, and survival stories. Winning $250 in a beauty pageant would allow Rebel to go to the paleontology camp she dreams of. Small town, summer fun, unexpected friendships, and empathy make this a nice read.
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