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Review - You Have Seven Messages

Thursday, October 18, 2012
You Have Seven Messages
by Stewart Lewis

2 Stars: An Okay Read
Publication: September 11, 2012 (Paperback)
Pages: 304
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Ember
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

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.

Luna is a sweet girl, someone that tweens will be able to relate to. She's at that stage where she's turning into a girl and developing an interest in boys (well, one particular boy), but she's awkward and not very confident in herself. It takes searching for the truth of what happened the day her mom died and meeting people who crossed paths with her mom for Luna to come to terms with her identity and what she wants to do with her life. This was all I could glean of her character, however. I feel as though I didn't really get to know Luna in relation to the other characters. Most of the story is filled with internal ruminations and Luna going from one place to another in search of the truth about her mother. There were some characters that I liked in particular: Daria and Tile. Daria is a super-cool model who helps Luna sort out her feelings and gives her the womanly support Luna lacks in her life right now. Tile is the sweetest little brother ever, wise for his years, though he often talks using the cheesiest movie lines ever. It adds to his charm.

Oftentimes, the dialogue felt forced and poorly written. I had trouble seeing people say some of the lines the way that they do. It didn't feel natural. I also found it odd that Luna would only listen to one of the messages at a time and then spend so much time trying to figure out what happened to her mom. This is a big deal to her, yet she's finding time to take photographs and move on with life at the same time that she's listening to these messages. I know that life goes on, but it's pretty strange to me that Luna is able to do all these things while there are messages waiting for her to listen to them.

While Luna gets the closure that she needs over her mother's death, she learns that her family wasn't the perfect unit she always thought it was. This is something that we all find out sooner or later--that our parents aren't invincible, that they're human too and make mistakes. I never had to deal with such a big blow as Luna has been dealt with, but it's still a part of life, finding out your parents' flaws and learning how to deal with it and respond to it. It did feel as though the cheating aspect was a bit overdone with what happens with Oliver later, and I found it hard to believe that Luna could forgive so quickly. While Oliver is the romantic interest and spends a lot of time helping Luna with the mystery behind the seven messages, I didn't feel as though I got to know him. What he does to Luna is really uncool, and his explanation seems more like an excuse and is really flaky.

It wasn't until I started thinking over all this that I rated this a 2 stars. I did enjoy reading this book while I was reading it. However, there are so many little pieces that don't add up at the end. I'd recommend this for pleasure reading if the plot intrigues you, but I wouldn't recommend it for keeps.

A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes
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