Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review of The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

A refreshing, funny, and moving debut novel about first loves, last wishes, and letting go.
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 was smart, funny, and at times sad. Coming from a big family myself I found the fictional family hilarious. The book wouldn't have been as great as it is without every single character because each of them played an essential role in the overall story. I also felt that Carrie Firestone did an excellent job of handling the subject of death with dignity. The story had serious moments but they weren't all this book was about. My favorite thing about this book wasn't the relationship between Maddie and Enzo, it was Maddie's relationship with her grandmother. The love Maddie felt for her just poured off the page.

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