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Mac in the City of Light

by Christopher Ward

Sewer tours, taxi chases, and subbing in as a nightclub cigarette girl aren’t on the agenda for Mac’s school trip abroad, but when the 14-year-old California girl arrives in Paris, she winds up having the greatest adventure of her life. Debut author Christopher Ward, a songwriter and former MuchMusic VJ, takes readers on a fun romp through the French capital, as Mac finds herself in league with a ragtag group of cab drivers attempting to prevent the City of Light from going permanently dark.

Mac’s adventure begins when she meets Rudee Daroo, her dad’s musician-turned-cabbie friend, who tells her that some of the city’s greatest monuments are being destroyed or stolen in a mysterious effort to cast the city into darkness. Determined not to let her new favourite city be ruined, Mac takes it upon herself to follow the suspicious characters she meets at the club, and ends up discovering a secret city beneath the streets of Paris.

Mac is a rather underdeveloped character, but her role as a wide-eyed, average American teenager immersed in a new locale is ideal for allowing the reader to learn from her experiences. And whereas Mac is somewhat one-dimensional, supporting characters Rudee and his love interest Sashay D’Or, an enchanting gypsy dancer, are well crafted, sympathetic, and entertaining.

With its fast pace and abundance of laughs, Mac’s adventure is a great page-turner, though it definitely requires the reader’s suspension of disbelief. Not only are Mac’s brushes with danger more than a little far-fetched, she continually manages to escape her class tours without facing any consequences for her truancy. Fortunately, the story is engaging enough to (mostly) forgive Ward for these less believable moments.