CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 1. . . .September 7, 2012
Last Message. (Seven The Series).
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
237 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.). For pricing information about digital options, including multi-user ebook subscriptions, email
ISBN 978-1-5546-9935-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-5546-9936-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-5546-9937-7 (epub).
Seven (the series) Bundle. ISBN 978-1-4598-0270-4. $59.95.
Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.
Review by Amy Dawley.
Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.
A loud sound came toward me from behind and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I recognized it. I wasn't sure why. Probably because I had heard exactly that same thing in movies set in France. It was the sound of a French police car. They don't wail like our sirens, high-pitched and frightening. They are frightening in a different way, blaring one short note than one long, over and over again.
I turned around and saw the police car. My heart raced. Then I realized that it couldn't be coming after me. Then, I was sure it was.
I started to run. Not a good move. The cruiser (though that's a generous word, since French police cars are about the size of American riding mowers) kept coming after me, pulling over to the narrow shoulder and zipping right up behind me. Finally, I stopped, foolishly clutching the painting inside my jacket. How did they know? Were they watching the farmhouse?
"Bonjour," said the cop who got out of the car. "Americain?" I thought he looked angry.
"Oui," I said, my voice cracking, as I pulled out my passport and handed it over. That's what Mom and Dad had said to do if I ever got into trouble.
When Adam hears the news that his larger-than-life grandfather has passed away, he has mixed feelings. He's sad that his beloved grandfather is gone and would be more grief-stricken if the last words his grandfather had said about him weren't, "He'll never amount to much." This was especially hurtful coming from a man that Adam had always looked up to. Adam's grandfather had been a war hero, had travelled the world, and knew so much about everything. Hurt and feeling betrayed, Adam fights against letting himself feel anything for his grandfather, but when the will is read and Adam and six of his cousins are each given a set of mysterious tasks for their eyes only, Adam feels hopeful. From beyond the grave, Adam's grandfather is giving him a chance to redeem himself. Can he complete his grandfather's last wishes and somehow live up to his legacy?
Finding himself on an all-expenses paid trip to France to track down a French family that had harboured his grandfather after he crashed his plane during the World War II, Adam can't help but be distracted. Despite the pain his grandfather's words caused him, Adam honestly feels that he really hasn't amounted to much. He's secretly infatuated with the school's hottest girl, Vanessa, who barely knows he's alive, even though he has a perfectly fine and loyal girlfriend in Shirley. But that's Adam's lot in life. Things with him are always fine, and not bad—nothing's great or the best or exciting. As Adam lands in Paris, he can practically taste the possibilities. This is a chance to make something of himself—and he's willing to risk it all and to face anything to make that dream a reality.
Last Message is one book in the "Seven" series," a collection of seven linked stories about Adam and his cousins that will be published simultaneously. Just as Adam received specific and mysterious instructions from his grandfather beyond-the-grave via his will, so have six of his cousins, and each of their stories is told in separate books. The great part about this series is that the books can be read in any order as the stories happen simultaneously and separately from one another, while still being linked. Part mystery and part adventure Last Message is a fantastic and thrilling page-turner that is a perfect antidote to the glut of paranormal romance and Hunger Games-esque science fiction that have been flooding the shelves. If the other books in the series are as well-written as Last Message, this series is going to be very popular with older elementary and younger high-school audiences, particularly boys. Last Message is a great crossover series from junior to teen collections, and it would be well-suited to either category. Readers that are fond of action and adventure series like Alex Rider or Young James Bond will find something to like in this series. The "Seven" series is a must-purchase for public and school libraries that are looking to add more action and adventure stories to their collections for older children and teens.
Amy Dawley is the teen librarian at the Prince George Public Library in Prince George, BC.
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