Delecorte Press, $17.99, 289 pages
What happens if you are a teenager and your mother dies? What if you find a cufflink in your mother’s stuff that doesn’t belong to your dad? What if the circumstances surrounding her death are somehow tied to her unheard cell phone messages?
Fourteen-year-old Luna is determined to answer some of these questions before she confronts her director father about the tragedy that claimed her fashion-model mother. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis delves into the life of a New York teenager who is learning to cope with death and the awakening of her own heart. In her search for the truth, Luna finds out that the image she has of her parents’ marriage may not be the whole story. She enlists the help of a cute cello virtuoso in her quest to find the pieces of the puzzle and along the way, she meets people who help her discover other passions. Finally, a trip to Tuscany changes everything.
The story is well executed and will especially appeal to female tweens. However, there are inherent problems with the age of the characters. Luna gets her first training bra right before she turns fifteen – well past a believable age for this event. Luna’s mother was still working as a runway model well into her thirties after she had two children – also unbelievable by current standards. Luna and her younger brother are free to run around New York City unsupervised, which might upset quite a few moms. However, the contemporary references and independent spirit of the main character are certain to attract today’s youth.