ARC Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone + My Loose Ends List

Title: The Loose Ends List
Author: Carrie Firestone
Pages: 352 pages
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Source: ARC from TheNOVL
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie's closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie's plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret "death with dignity" cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way - and give the O'Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

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**Thank you Little, Brown for sending me an advanced copy. This has not affected my opinions for this book**

I thought I would pick this up after the publishers so kindly sent me an unsolicited advanced copy. I must say, the cover is the most stunning thing I've ever seen but what's underneath is even more glamorous. The synopsis sounded promising, filled with love, laughter and loss.

Maddie's summer is about to be completely turned upside down when her grandma announces that she's terminally ill and wants to spend the entire summer with the family on a 'death with dignity' cruise ship, the Wishwell. She's doomed to spend the next eight weeks with her not-so-tight-knit family to bid her grams adieu. What she doesn't expect is getting closer to the members of her family and meeting a boy who's also going through the same thing - saying goodbye to a dying family member on the cruise, that is. SO maybe this wasn't the summer Maddie was expecting, but is it that bad in comparison to what could have been?

The family in this book is very different, to say the least. When the synopsis said over-the-top I was thinking over-the-top as in a family that likes to humiliate and prank each of its members. In no way was I thinking straight-out-of-the-loon-bin-over-the-top. This family is seriously CRAZY, but for the best of course. I'll admit I thought they were a tad obnoxious in the beginning, but they really begin to grow on you like moss on a tree. They aren't so tight-knit but we see as the each day on the cruise passes, they begin to appreciate their quirks and even the members who don't see eye to eye begin to look past differences.

But I'm also not just talking about Maddie's family, I'm speaking for everyone. All the Wishwellians- those are, people who attended the cruise. Loss and tragedy, that's expected. So you could sort of see the appeal in meeting a new character after someone passed away. For some reason, it felt right (and in no way am I saying dead is right).

Maddie's grandma was a character that I appreciated. She was not only a wise role model for Maddie and her family, but for me as well. Her take on life was what I valued the most. Sure, she knew she wasn't going to make it off the cruise alive but she took life by the balls and said, "I'm not spending the last weeks of my life strapped up to an IV in a white room." Let's just say she's not your average grandma and it gave the book that wow factor. The fact that this old woman who's about to die is so happy about life just makes you want to get up every morning to see what you're missing.

The humor played a huge role in keeping me on top of my reading game, and I found myself wanting to jump into the story when I was preoccupied by other less interesting things. It's hard to find humor when you're on a boat of people who are going to die soon but Carrie Firestone somehow made that very possible.

The whole point of the cruise wasn't just a way for family to say goodbye and have their last hurrah, but it was also the beginning of their lives. They would leave the boat knowing they had no regrets with the ones they loved. Maddie's grandma made sure of that. It's a message I won't be forgetting anytime soon.

The one thing that I couldn't handle though was the ending. I felt it was a bit unfinished and it left a huge gaping hole in my heart. Yes, going into this book I knew there was going to be heartbreak but the end really leaves me to question whether the author plans to write a sequel a few years into the future of Maddie and her family's life.

Sure knowing your expiration date may be scary, but it pales in comparison to knowing and not spending the last of your days doing the things you've longed to do with the people you love. Don't take life of family for granted because just like that, it can end just as quickly as it began.

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  1. Great review! I love your own loose ends list, too! I am not sure some of the characters, especially Maddie, grew on me but I loved the theme of this and it was well done!

    my review

    1. I'm glad you linked your review. Definitely want to hear more about Maddie, for you :D


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