You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Published: 1-1-11 by Delacorte Books
Get the book: Amazon
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.
Design – Trish Parcell Photo – Anna Moller Rating – 4/5
The cover is my favorite part of this book. It’s simple and fresh and it ties into the story. There’s so much emotion portrayed by the pose of the model, even though we only see her back . I love the simple pop of color against the white background, which is exactly how I imagined the studio space Luna’s mom had. The details are right – the red cell phone, and the old fashioned camera that continues the visual story onto the back cover. The rain on the window pane is a great way to frame the story about moving on after a death. One thing I would change is to move the title down a bit, make it red like on the spine, and have the blurb above it in black.
This book was a huge letdown for me. I found Luna, the main character, to be really immature and naive. It was hard for me to connect to or care about her at all, and the storyline was like something a teenager would concoct. I was hoping that this book would be something like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, but it was nowhere near that deep.
- Tile – Despite his silly name, Tile is a great character. He’s tired, like Luna, of being treated like he’s not old enough to handle or understand what really happened. It’s funny when he talks like a cliched movie script, and he’s actually pretty insightful sometimes. I think it’s lame that Luna, while fighting with her father because he wants to protect her from the truth, does the exact same thing to Tile yet never makes that connection.
- parents are people – Although some of the revelations about her parents aren’t positive, Luna discovers that her parents have lives of their own. It’s hard to realize that your parents have aspects of their lives that don’t involve you, because you’ve never known them before they had you. Luna’s parents both spent a lot of time building careers away form the home, but Luna’s knowledge of those other parts of them didn’t include other people before finding her mom’s phone. Then she starts to uncover new layers of their lives, including people she didn’t know had influenced them.
- name dropping – Nothing dates a book like filling it with the names of brands, TV shows, and celebrities. It takes a long time to write a book, a long time to get it published, so by the time a reader picks it up, half those pop culture references are already obsolete. Luna is we-have-our-own-driver rich. She’s full of stories that add nothing to the plot, like ‘I’ve met this person,’ and ‘so-and-so lived with us for awhile.’ Those are things that aren’t lasting. Even a reader picking this book up 2 years from now would be lost.
- strange details – Things that, if normal, would just be breezed over, kept tripping me up and distracting me from the story. Luna has 3 million names. Her real name is Malia which is only mentioned about twice, she goes by Luna for most of the book, her crush calls her Fifteen, and her family calls her Moon. Half of that I could be fine with, but four named? Geez. Her brother is named Tile, like the bathroom floor. That’s seriously how it’s explained. Oliver’s lips are twice described as violet. Is he a corpse? I spent no less than ten minutes wondering if the author inhabited some alternate universe where a shade of purple was a completely normal lip color.
- Luna – I could not connect with Luna at all. She had me thrown from the 1st page, which was, without a doubt, the worst 1st page I’ve ever read. It made me cringe. It sounds harsh, but I’m serious. It’s bad. Luna is 14 going on 15, but she seems so young, and her 10 year old brother is written like he’s 8ish. What 15 year old girl wants a foot massage from her brother? What brother even thinks of giving that as a birthday gift? Anyway, Luna. Her mother died in an accident a year before the book begins, but I never really got that genuine emotion from Luna. She just seemed so distant and calculating. She was so concerned with piecing together what might have happened in her parents’ marriage that it was almost a minor detail that her mom was gone. I mean, she was sad – but she said it and thought it instead of showing it. On top of this, she’s from a family that’s rolling green. Luna thinks it’s normal that she and Oliver have drivers, that she’s been on private planes, that she can just afford to fly to Italy at the drop of a hat.
- photography show – It’s nice that Luna has a hobby, but she literally take like 10 photos with a vintage camera and bam she’s suddenly a rising star photographer with celebrities attending her invite-only show? This is so ridiculous, and Luna is nonchalant about the whole deal. She muses that her show is just a perk of her famous last name, but her ‘OMGs’ don’t make it seem like she’s anything but uninterested in the event. I simply couldn’t get past how unaffected she was by having an agent and meeting rockstar-famous photographers.
- pacing – Things moved kind of strangely. Luna decides she wants to go to Italy, and 5 pages later she’s there. She wants to go to Paris, 5 pages later she’s there. Some chapters were 3 pages long. She gets a camera, takes pictures, gets an agent, books a show. Simple. Fast. She can confront a man who has an unknown past with her mother without even taking an afternoon to think about it, but she has no guts when it comes to talking to a 16 year old dude.
- I’ve never talked to my dad about boys. Ever since the fifth grade when Bradford Noble tried to kiss me on the playground and I kicked him in the crotch, he never really pursued it. Maybe he thinks I’m a lesbian. – pg. 53
- “So,” Julian says as he cooks himself and Richard eggs, “you said things were crazy in New York. How do you mean?” “Well, I get the feeling I’m far too young to be learning some of the things I did, and to have my heart broken, but that’s the way it worked, so…” – Julian + Luna pg. 231