Lewis, Stewart. You Have Seven Messages.
Luna lives with her film producer father and younger brother Tile in New York City, where they are struggling with the death of Luna's mother a year earlier. Luna has lots going on in her life-- a crush on a neighbor, Oliver, snooty girls at school, and her own budding career as an art photographer-- but when she finds her mother's cell phone and goes through the messages, she find out that her mother's glamorous life held many secrets. With Oliver's help, she tracks down the people on the messages and comes to terms with what really happened with her mother's death.
Strengths: Good writing, lots of quotable lines, and an original story.
Weaknesses: Spoiler: Luna's mother was having an affair, and Luna deals with this much better than most young teens would. A lot of this was unbelievable to me-- Luna's show of photographs, her jet setting relatives, the fact that her mother named her brother Tile. Almost more of an adult book-- if Luna had been in her early twenties I could see this more.
Hoffman, Mary. David.
The "milk brother" of Michaelangelo, Gabriele, moves to Florence to work with his famous sculptor brother. Upon his arrival, he is taken in by a young widow who finds his perfect physical form appealing. When Angelo returns, Gabriele starts to work with him preparing stone for sculptures, but soon is a much sought out artist's model. Angelo uses him for his famous statue of David. There is a lot of political intrigue, and the widow is pregnant and marries a wealthy man whom Gabriele finds annoying. Told from the point of view of Gabriele when he is in his 80s, this is a very rich picture of life during this time period.
Strengths: Interesting, well-written, and well-researched.
Weaknesses: Again, more of an adult book. While nothing is graphic, the attraction that the Florentine women and men have for Gabriele is definitley discussed.