Friday, April 12, 2013

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

         Picture losing your mother at the height of your adolescence and everyone you know giving you the watered down version of what happened to her. How would you react to such a traumatic event/circumstance? Why? A fourteen year old girl named Luna Clover knows the feeling. She battles with the controversy behind her mother’s sudden death, love, and becoming a young adult in the coming of age novel You Have Seven Messages.

           A year after her mother's death Luna stumbles across her mother's cell phone which has seven unheard messages in it. Curious, she listens to each message and unveils new information concerning her mother’s death and her secret life. Along her journey she encounters a love interest with a dreamy musician boy named Oliver who helps her get to the bottom of her dilemma. Although no one can replace a mother's love Luna comes across two mothering figures in a new friend named Daria and her father's girlfriend Ellise. Being the daughter of a hot shot film director dad and a famous fashion model mom can have its setbacks. "Girls aren't supposed to think about death, but it feels like a heavy backpack I have to carry with me everywhere I go" (164). While investigating her mother's death Luna comes into her own and makes a name for herself as a sensational photographer with a raw eye for vision. There are times where Luna shows resentment for her mother abandoning her in this world but she remembers the little things her mother taught her. 

          Lewis literally puts the reader in the Luna's shoes throughout the entire story. We are taken into the mind of a fourteen year old girl; language, perception, etc.  We also right there with Luna during her roller coaster ride of emotions and progression as she develops into a young adult. This is the type of book that hooks you only after reading a few chapters. It dives right into a serious issue and uses detective-type skills to decipher it. I feel like this would be a good book for students who like mystery, family, and love. Even the title You Have Seven Messages implies that this story will be influenced by technology. From the mother's phone messages to the IM (instant messenger) dialogue Lewis makes sure that we stay in the loop.  Since students today have never lived in a world without technology, I believe that makes this novel more appealing and relatable to them.


Samantha said...

Death is often a hard topic to breach with young people, so books like this one often help bridge the conversation gap. The story sounds thought-provoking with the "what would you do in her shoes?" vibe you describe. I also like the mysterious aspect, with Luna deducing facts about her mom's life and death from the voicemail messages. It sounds like something I would be interested in reading!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I had a friend who was in the same situaion as the charater in this book. Its sad to lose a mother at a time like this because she is going through a lot of changes and every girl needs their mom at the teenage ages. Im curious as to what the messages said. Maybe this will be my next purchase.

baboonfan said...

Nick Petersen: Death is an inevitability that we try to shield ourselves and our young people from. However, the harsh realities of life often make it to their ears quite fast. A book about a girl dealing wit the greiving process might be the way to broach the topic with high school students (Not freshman! They're scared enough). While we don't want to bum the kids out, the world around them has begun the process of peeling away the protective cacoon of child-like innocence about the world, and it's horrors. We need to prepare our kids just a little. While it may be sad and a little traumatic, it would be an even greater disservice to keep them in the dark and let them find out completely on their own. They need to be made aware of coping strategies to deal with grief and learn to reach out for help when it's needed.

Clarice Howard said...

As everyone has said in the comments before mine, death is something that needs to be talked about with pre-teens and young adults. Most have never really dealt with much death in their lives up to this point. It is a good subject to discuss so they can get used to the idea and it is not such a scary subject.

Some stories that students will read in middle or high school will have some death, but it will not be the main focus of the book, like in this novel. I think it would be interesting for students to read and to get this opinions and ideas of death.

Renee Thornton said...

I like that you mentioned how no one was telling her the whole story of what happened. I think kids often feel that way when something tragic happens, death or otherwise. The intention is often to protect them from the tragedy. I like this angle and kids can definitely respond to it.
It sounds like a very insightful and interior story, my interest is piqued.