Louisa’s family isn’t very close. She never met her Dad’s parents, and now they are both gone. Her family is the tight-lipped sort, so she, her father and her sister, Greta, don’t even talk much about their mother or the hole her death left in their lives.
When Louisa’s father asks her to accompany him on a trip from their home in North Carolina to his family home in Pennsylvania, she reluctantly joins him. She’s assigned the task of looking around the attic to see what’s up there. What she finds, in an old desk, is an ancient black telephone. When she picks up the receiver, there’s no dial tone; it’s unplugged, after all. But she is spooked when she hears someone breathing on the other end. Though her father has not visited his childhood home as long as they have been alive, Louisa doesn’t know why. So she’s completely taken off guard when her father decides that they should move there.
Only Louisa seems to hear the old phone when it rings. On the other end is an older woman with old-fashioned diction, who she soon figures out it the grandmother who just passed away. She tells Louisa that Louisa’s grandfather killed someone long ago. And Louisa slowly gets the story about World Ware II, Nazis and the horrors they inflicted, she learns that secrets are what kill people.
This family needs to break down some walls. It’s like it’s in their very DNA, this inability to open up and blow off steam, take some of the pressure off, realize that their strength isn’t being stoic and strong, but open and vulnerable. The side stories about a new woman in Dad’s life and Greta’s angst give the story extra depth (though the story that Grandmother tells is amazing enough on its own).
My only complaint: there’s a love triangle, which really doesn’t feel like it belongs here. Both boys are great and bring out Louisa in different ways (and it seems that the two boys and their personalities are mirror images of Louisa’s grandfather and his twin brother); but, inevitably, someone wins (and someone loses), and that part of the story is clunky and doesn’t add much to the story. I wish one had had always been more of a friend.
The Number 7 by Jessica Lidh was published July 4, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher and the Author.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Mystery Historical Romance Fantasy
Ages: 15 and up
COYER Scavenger Hunt #51: Read a book with a number in the title. (4 points)