Summary: When Adam’s grandfather, David McLean, dies and leaves a quest for each of his seven grandsons to complete, Adam is torn between mourning his loss, intrigue about the quest, and bitterness about overhearing his grandfather telling his mother he will never amount to much. His trip to France to take care of some his grandfather’s unfinished business challenges Adam to prove his grandfather wrong, but he finds himself facing the same moral quandaries that his grandfather did decades before. One thing is for sure, the quests left by his grandfather will change Adam in ways he never expected.
Number of Pages: 237
Age Range: 13-15
Review: I loved Last Message by Shane Peacock. Adam is an observant yet sensitive character placed in a story that is well-paced and page-turning. I enjoyed the conflict between Adam and his dead grandfather over a misheard comment, but the best part was that Adam was ultimately trying to prove himself to himself. He needed to know that he was more than just okay, and that being okay in his case ends up being pretty great.
Plus, I’m a sucker for stories where characters end up realising and appreciating what they have. In the beginning, Adam is chasing after Vanessa because he thinks a relationship with her will make him more than just okay, except as events unfold he starts to understand that his current girlfriend and best friend are real people who care about him as he is because he is already the whole package.
Throw in a trip to France (!), a three part quest that challenges Adam to step up and make some mature decisions and some witty comments about the differences between Canadians and Americans and it’s a book you won’t be able to put down. As in Close to the Heel by Norah McClintock, David McLean proves to be an incredibly wise grandfather who knows just what his grandsons need to help them become the amazing men they are capable of being. Can’t wait to read another book from Seven the Series, and I just might put Peacock’s The Boy Sherlock Holmes series on my personal reading list as well.
“Over the following days, I kept up the pressure, toying with the emotions of one Vanessa Lincoln, babe of my dreams. I purposely hadn’t told her about the other two tasks. That’s because the key to telling a dramatic story is the pacing. You can’t give your listeners all the candy right off the bat. You have to dole it out bit by bit, making the payoff even better and better, until you get them to the story’s climax.” – Adam from Last Message by Shane Peacock, page 47
“It was true. And when I said it to her, it kind of shocked me. I wasn’t sure I was a very good person, though I had never admitted it out loud to myself before. I knew I was a jerk a lot of the time, but I also knew I was struggling to be the person I should be.” – Adam from Last Message by Shane Peacock, page 146
“I would never admit this to anyone else, but I knew from experience that Canadians were a lot more international in their outlook than Americans. It always shocked me when I heard my cousins really get rolling in a conversation, not only about things that were happening in their own country, but also in America (though they always called it ‘the United States’) as well as in Europe and South America and even Africa, for God’s Sake. My buddies and I back home had enough trouble keeping informed about local politics! They didn’t know anything about the Great White North, even though Canuck-land was just a few miles away over the border. I remember correcting them when they referred to Canada’s president, instead of prime minister.” – Adam from Last Message by Shane Peacock, pages 156-157
“‘But I must! Don’t you see it? Ah, it would be a marvelous twist to the end of our tale! Very European!’ His face grew serious. ‘But we shall not wish for that as our denouement. We shall do all we can to make this a happy tale, an American drama full of spills and chills with an American ending – which means a dull ending, but nevertheless, it must be done.'” – Mermoz from Last Message by Shane Peacock, pages 178-179
“And besides, he was a famous writer. How weird could he be? That seemed like a stupid question almost the moment I thought it.” – Adam from Last Message by Shane Peacock, page 182
“‘He’ll never amount to much. That might be the world’s judgement of my grandson right now, but it will never be mine. The world is often wrong. He will amount to a great deal. Someday this boy will prove it.” – Adam’s Grandfather from Last Message by Shane Peacock, page 236
“‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.'” – an excerpt from The Little Prince from Last Message by Shane Peacock, page 237