January 17, 2013

Review: You Have Seven Messages

Title: You Have Seven Messages
Author: Stewart Lewis
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 304
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
It's been a year since Luna's mother, the fashion-model wife of a successful film director, was hit and killed by a taxi in New York's East Village. Luna, her father, and her little brother, Tile, are still struggling with grief.

When Luna goes to clean out her mother's old studio, she's stunned to find her mom's cell phone there—charged and holding seven unheard messages. As Luna begins to listen to them, she learns more about her mother's life than she ever wanted to know... and she comes to realize that the tidy tale she's been told about her mother's death may not be the whole truth.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

The other week I was at the library picking up some books on hold. I stopped to check out what my tiny little branch had on the shelves. This book was one of my impulse pick-ups. I'd never heard of it and I didn't even check Goodreads. I just liked the sound of the plot and so I grabbed it. Unfortunately, I didn't love this one the way I thought I would. I wanted a contemporary mystery and instead I got something much different.

Let's break this down:

So I thought this book would be a mystery. I love a sleuth-y teen (re: Veronica Mars). This book was not that. It's more a coming of age story. Which, don't get me wrong, I LOVE. Luna's a sweet girl who REALLY grows into her own throughout the course of the story. She's a truly compelling character and I want her to figure her life out. But I feel like a lot of her life situations are kinda unrealistic and maybe even a little contradictory.

Okay, so I'm not a celebrity's kid and I don't know any celebrity's kids, but I feel like Luna's life doesn't make any sense. One minute her father's all up in her face about where she is and her taking the subway, like a responsible parent. Then the next minute he's leaving her and her kid brother with a woman he met like two minutes ago while he goes on a business trip. Not to mention he sends Luna on her own off to Italy for a couple weeks to be lightly supervised by her uncle (whom I love, but who's also insanely irresponsible with his niece). Don't the rich and famous have au pairs, nannies and other miscellaneous hired help to watch after the kids? I mean, Oliver does, so I'm not sure why Luna wouldn't.

I'm also never entirely sure about the timeline. I get that it's been a year since the mother's death but wouldn't Luna's father be smart enough to do something with that apartment if he had something to hide? I don't know. I just feel like this story would be WAY more plausible if it had taken place sooner after Luna's mother's death. And, as mentioned before, I kind of wished there'd been more of a mystery. Luna's resourceful and clever. Even though this book is more about her growth as she listens to the messages and finds out the truth about her mother's last days, I just kind of wish there'd been something more for her to solve.

Furthermore, I feel like the last year since Luna's mother died is important to the storyline but isn't really utilized. The family dynamics were kind of muddy and this could have been cleared up with more flashback-y kind of stuff. Ugh, and then there's this: I'm never entirely sure how old Luna's brother is or why said brother never seems to be important to his parents, just to his older sister (that's a way more minor point than the others mentioned in this paragraph, but it IRKED me).

But going back to Oliver for a quick second - he's adorbs, do NOT get me wrong, but I don't totally get why he's all flighty in this book. It's sort of explained but not really. Either way, I think his relationship with Luna is super sweet and one of the redeeming features of the story. There's a mystery I wanted solved. Mostly because the other mystery - the death of the mother, isn't really a mystery and it falls kind of flat.

I don't know guys. I really, really liked Luna's character development. I also really like Daria and Oliver. And I think Tile's a cutie. But this plot seems to fight with itself a lot. Luna's an adult, but no, she's a child, and then no, her father is lying to her and acting all cold but really he's a great dad... these inconsistencies go on much more than I'd like. But if you're focus on Luna's growth throughout, this story really is very compelling and worth the read, if not the purchase.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Strangely conflicted.
World Building: The confusing lifestyle of the rich and the famous potentially mis-represented?
Character Development: The redeeming aspect of the book. Luna really carries the show here and she does it spectacularly.
Prose: Earnest, just like the story itself.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Not worth the buy but it could be an interesting library borrow.

So tell me, have you read this one? Did you get the timeline better than me? If you did, could you help a girl out? Pretty please?


  1. Despite the fact that there seems to be confusion when it comes to a few details and even the story itself, I find myself strangely intrigued by this book. It might be my curiosity to find out what happened to the mom...

    1. I was intrigued too!! Definitely give it a read, but remember that's it's not what it seems.

      Thanks for commenting, Alexa! :)

  2. I'm always thankful for the library when I find books I am not sure I love.
    Anywho, since I like this blog so much, I have nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award!

    Deidra @ Simply Books.

    1. I freaking LOVE the library when I encounter books like this one. Honestly, the best.

      Thanks for nominating me for the award and for commenting, Deirdra! So sweet :)


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