on June 7, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, Romance, Death & Dying
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
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.
The Loose Ends List is a young adult standalone contemporary by Carrie Firestone. This one was both a tough read for me, and also held a special place in my heart because it deals with death and dying. I enjoyed The Loose Ends List. I thought it was a nice look at how death and dying affects us all differently, and it was a really nice family story. I liked the characters. I think overall it will appeal to fans of younger YA as well as YA.
In The Loose Ends List the main characters grandmother is diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer, and she decides to surprise her family not only with that news, but also that she has decided to take them all on a worldwide cruise to see her off. This is no ordinary cruise. No, no on the Wishwell cruise line, it caters specifically to terminal individuals that would like a death-with-dignity option. Meaning that at some point during the cruise, they are going to choose to pass on. I is certainly an interesting concept, and I have to wonder if something like that exists in real life. I honestly have no idea. (It would stir up some controversy I am sure.)
Maddie has a very hard time dealing with death, so she takes the news of her grandmother particularly hard. I liked Maddie. At times, I thought she was felt a bit younger than a high school senior, but at other times I thought she acted her age completely. I really felt for her. She is extremely close with her grandmother, and I know how hard it must have been to process this news very quickly. I loved the cast of characters that we get to know on the cruise. Not only does Maddie come from a large, and varied family, but the cruise itself also had a group of interesting passengers, and author Carrie Firestone does a great job of allowing the reader get to know a lot of them…not just Maddie and her grandma. That was probably my favorite aspect of The Loose Ends List.
The Loose Ends List is unlike anything I have read before. It a very nice journey. I thought it had some very deep moments, some fun and lighthearted moments and lots of very real moments. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Plus, I love the idea of a loose ends list, rather than a bucket list or a to-do list. It is a book that I think is very much worth reading.
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