Beauty Pageants and Summer Jobs: A Review of Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom

Candice Ransom
288 pages
Publisher: DisneyHyperion
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Source: ARC from ALA
Rating: LIKED


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 decides to win the Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department’s beauty pageant. Rebel may not be a typical pageant contestant, but how hard can it be? Rebel’s dramatic reading about life is the Pleistocene era is sure to blow away the competition. It turns out that winning a beauty pageant is harder than it looks. By the end of the summer, Rebel has learned a thing or two about her true calling that will surprise everyone–most of all, herself.

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 all how hard can it be?

Candice Ransom’s novel, Rebel Mackenzie, isn’t a novel I would normally pick up. I’m the kind of person that loves action and adventure, not beauty contests. But that doesn’t mean I hated this novel. The story starts off with Rebel running away. Rebel’s not much of a beauty contestant but she’s doing it for the dig, which in my opinion, made it all easier for a person like me to relate to. My favorite character (and pet) was Rudy and Doublewide. Doublewide (the name suits him fine) is a cat, a big clever cat. And when I say clever, I mean it – he knows how to ring a doorbell and use the bathroom in the toilet.

Overall I’ll give this slightly funny book 4 stars, because like I said, this book just wasn’t perfect for me.

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Eileen (***Singing and Reading in the Rain***)

    May 21, 2012

    Hmm…I wonder if I'll like it. I like contemporaries and reading them, but like you said, I don't want to be reading only about beauty contests.

  2. Reply


    August 5, 2012

    This might be more interesting for the younger crowd. But it does sound fluffy which we all need every now and then.

  3. Reply


    November 22, 2012

    I'm not certain this one is for me. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Reply


    March 15, 2014

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