In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, January 9, 2012


copyright date: 2011
primarily marketed for: young adult (7th grade and up)

I have been thinking lately about the way I am drawn to books that are told through lists of some sort.  Once I got started thinking about it, I came up with quite a list (imagine that) of books that involve a list or series of some sort.  I think this may have to be another blog post sometime soon. 

In this case, You Have Seven Messages contains a series of messages left on a cell phone.   So, here are my seven messages about this book:

1.     The basic premise is totally intriguing: Luna’s mother died when she was hit by a taxi.  A few months later, Luna comes across her still activated cell phone (plot details like this are pretty well accounted for and feel realistic in the context of the story) and finds there are seven messages.  The seven messages help Luna uncover more information about her mother’s death, reveal some of her family’s secrets, and ultimately help her move on.
2.     The setting is appealing: New York City, lush condos and studios owned by a Luna’s father (who is a big-time movie director), city streets and subways. 
3.     Luna’s relationship with her family members (father, charming little brother, and even her mother) is well crafted, believable, and enviable. 
4.     There is a love interest thrown into the mix.
5.     Because the author is also a singer-songwriter, there are lots of music references, and the book has an artsy thread to it as well—Luna is a budding photographer, and her mother used to be a fashion model.
6.     There are lots of characters to keep track of, but if you don’t sweat it, the story will make sense of itself.
7.     Even though by the end it seemed like the author was less clever about his craft and plot development, the story is still an overall fulfilling story of a teenager figuring out who she is in the wake of her mother’s death and revelations about her family. 


  1. I am intrigued. I love the list structure you used. You created a review that has sparked my interest. :)

  2. Clever idea to use the list idea for your review, Christy. And what an interesting idea for a plot. I thought it was going to end up being a strange murder mystery. Thanks!

  3. Books that are lists... I'm thinking... THIRTEEN REASONS WHY... an adult one I loved called MANY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED SINCE HE DIED AND HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS by Elizabeth Dewbery. Thanks for the review and for setting my noggin running!