Title: The Loose Ends List
Author: Carrie Firestone
Genre: YA Contemporary/ Romance
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s a summer for first love, last wishes, and letting go.
Maddie has big plans to spend the last months before college tying up high school “loose ends” alongside her best friends. Then her beloved grandmother drops two bombshells: (1) Gram is dying. (2) She’s taking her entire family on a round-the-world cruise of dreams come true—but at the end, Gram won’t be returning home.
With a promise to live in the now without regrets, Maddie boards the Wishwell determined to make every moment count. She finds new friends in her fellow Wishwellians, takes advantage of the trip’s many luxuries, gets even closer to her quirky family, and falls for painfully gorgeous Enzo. But despite the copious laughter, headiness of first love, and wonder of the glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram, and she struggles to find the strength to let go in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, grief, and laughter.
I picked up The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone on a whim a while ago. I thought it sounded like a cute and funny read, so why not?! Who doesn’t want to tie up the loose ends in their life before moving on to bigger and better things?
Just so you know, loose ends are the things that you didn’t get to do that you want to. They are the final hoorah before moving to the next step in your life.
The story follows Maddie in her summer before her first year at college. She has all of the loose ends she wants to tie up from high school with her friends before she leaves. These plans change when her Gram announces that she is dying and taking the entire family on a cruise. The catch: her Gram won’t be coming home with them. In a book about living life and death, there is sadness and laughter as the family lives life to the fullest.
When I finally sat down to read it, I was pulled into a wonderful family. It was hard to put this book down, as I read cover to cover. Here is my review of The Loose Ends List:
Things I Like:
I loved all of the characters in this book! Even the characters you only saw for such a short period of time stuck with me. Each character had their own unique personality and it shines through the text. I can’t believe how I feel so close to these characters.
Types of Dying
Okay now, this may sound weird but this book brought to light the many ways people can die. It did so in such a way that makes you feel that death is always around regardless of who you are or what your age is. Death is the same for everyone, and it is equally painful.
I have to say, the last time the cover told me it would be funny I was disappointed (eh em The Haters). This time was different. Within the first few pages, I was already laughing. Now Firestone did not go overboard with jokes but did perfectly plant them right as things were getting a bit too serious.
My favorite quotes:
Gram thinks Dad is a weird socially awkward freeloader and that Mom ended up with him because she has the emotional fortitude of a newborn panda.
Gram makes a toast with sparkling water, or as the Europeans call it, “water with gas.”
“Honey” Janie says./ “That’s an easy one. This story is R rated because I was topless. But everybody’s topless in that particular village,” Gram says.
With every funny thing, there is always a sadder tone in this book. Now I typically don’t cry for books, but I found myself tearing up here. It felt like so many characters were unknowingly ripped out from underneath of me without warning. Firestone did a great job describing the sad portions of this book.
Things I Don’t Like:
Awkward Relative Closeness
Maybe this is because of my own family dynamic, but the North O’Neill family is a bit TOO close. There were many times that I was a bit disturbed about how intimate this family is with each other. For example, Maddie, her cousin Janie, and their Gram all casually talk about sex. They don’t feel awkward or embarrassed and even openly talk about it with their uncles. It all is a bit odd for me, but they all shared in this openness.
Overall, The Loose Ends List is a lighthearted and fun book about dying and death. I enjoyed the characters that Firestone created, and her writing style made me want more. Although the family closeness is a bit awkward, I think it fits with the family. I give The Loose Ends List…
What would you put on your loose ends list? Let me know in the comments below!
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