by Carrie Firestone
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Published by NOVL one June 7, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon
A refreshing, funny, and moving debut novel about first loves, last wishes, and letting go.Death, friendship, love: they’re all a part of life. They’re good and their bad. Sometimes they disappoint. Sometimes they’re all you’ve got left. When Maggie’s Gram announces she wants to take her family on a death with dignity cruise after being diagnosed with a terminal form of pancreatic cancer, those three parts of life come crashing into her. On this around the world boat trip, there’s amusing humans also facing death, as well as a certain beautiful boy with a hella swoony accent who may just be a Great Love.
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 such a good book. I sat down the Saturday following my first week of IB testing and read this book. I mean, I prepped for mother’s day and finished up my article for HelloFlo, but then I sat down with this gorgeous book and read and read and finished it. Besides this being the prettiest book on my shelf, it’s also one with a totally swoony main dude. He definitely joins the ranks among Etienne and The Warden. Enzo, Enzo, Enzo. You, sir, are adorable and that accent. Ugh. Disgustingly attractive. The characters in this book really made the book. I mean from Enzo to Gram, to the rest of Maggie’s family: they were all fun to read about. At times I found them overwhelming and insane. I mean that in the best way.
Isn’t that family? Insane and beautiful and chaotic? This book nailed the family relationship to a tee—even it was a big more expensive, and a bit eccentric than the majority of families out there.
Let’s talk a little but more about plot itself, and how the book involves the characters and life so wonderfully. As I said before, they’re on a cruise where all the patients go with the intention of this being their last big adventure. Maddie makes a Loose Ends List. This is the inspiration for Gram’s adventure. This book follows that last big adventure. All feels and romance and last words. It’s gorgeous and amazing.
I want to talk about the idea of a Loose Ends List versus a Bucket List.
First off, the whole idea of tying up loose ends applies to everyone; you want to do thing before you graduate college or high school. Maybe you have things to finish up before you’re married. It could be as simple as some things you want to do before summer is over. On the other end of the spectrum is a Bucket List. This concept has been around forever. It’s a list of things you do before you kick the bucket. Things to do before you die. The loose ends list is a much happier approach to the end, whatever that end may be.
It’s pretty obvious, I bet, that I really like the idea. I’ll be adopting it.
I really liked the characters, I loved the plot, and the Loose Ends List sold me. I think everyone should read this. When your finished, go ahead and ooh and aah over the beautiful cover. It’s worth it.