Title: The Loose Ends List
Author: Carrie Firestone
Publication: June 7th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346 pages
Format: Library book
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.
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So here’s the alphabetical run down:
I had trouble connecting with Maddie’s character. I did appreciate that she wasn’t your typical privileged teenager who complains about her privilege, but I just couldn’t relate to her. Her family and all of the guests on the Wishwell are really colorful characters, especially her Gram. I appreciated their diversity and various backstories and really felt like I got to know all of the characters very well, despite the large number of characters. Enzo, however, was not my favorite. I felt like his appearance on the ship was a little too “set up” feeling and his personality fell flat in comparison to the rest of the characters.
This cover is so pretty, such great colors. The naked hard cover without the dust jacket is actually one of the coolest books I have ever seen, it looks hand drawn and is covered in rainbow colored flowers and doodles.
I had trouble with the romance between Maddie and Enzo. To me, it felt forced and a little too coincidental. Also, they move very quickly into a physical relationship that seems unrealistic throughout the book.
The Loose Ends List was definitely written for a mature young adult audience. Maddie’s family speaks openly about sex and drug use, and the general tone of the book was a bit crude to me. However, the bluntness with which the characters approach pretty much every subject, does help the “death with dignity” cruise not to feel either cheesy or depressing.
At times I felt like I was being told the abridged version of an around the world adventure by a very good friend, with very little filter. I actually do have a best friend who doesn’t filter much of what she says, so some of the book sounded like a story she might tell me, but I also felt like the author might have tried to fit too many adventures into one book.
“Hey, these wrinkles are the badge of a life well lived, missy. Watch it, or I’ll kick your little behind to the streets.”
“I give you permission to completely ignore reality.” She pats my leg. “It’ll be good practice for college.”
“The pain of losing doesn’t get less with each person I lose. But I have the wisdom of knowing the pain isn’t forever. That fades. The memories stay. And the love isn’t going anywhere.”
There were parts of the story I absolutely loved, but they didn’t outweigh the parts of the overall plot that were just mediocre to me. I think this book might really resonate with some people, but I wasn’t one of them.
Have you read The Loose Ends List? I know that everyone doesn’t have the same opinions about books, and that’s awesome! What did you think?