My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Family, First Love, Adventure, Life and Death, Humour
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.
The Loose Ends List is one of the best books that I have read in my entire (short) life.
The crazy part is that I wasn’t supposed to love it so much. I wasn’t supposed to turn the last page with tears pouring down my face and a knot in my stomach.
Or so I thought.
There are many things this book contains that should have made me run far, far away from it, such as dark, dirty, vulgar humour and judgmental teenagers.
I’m somewhat of a sarcastic person, but never do I swear or speak ungodly about life matters. It’s just not who I am. Plus I cannot stand it when others are blindly judging people surrounding them.
So really, I was not the right audience for this contemporary, mature YA novel.
For this precious, treasurable novel.
But I know grief. I know loss. And I know hurting. I may only be nineteen years old, but I don’t feel that age inside of my mind. I feel much older. I feel twenty-five. I wouldn’t know if it’s because of everything I’ve lived through or just the way I am, though.
The Loose Ends List explores firsts and lasts in a raw, uncensored and very, very heartfelt manner. It’s full of hilarious moments, but also heart-shattering ones. It will make you smile, laugh and cry, cry, cry.
Most importantly, however, it paints a hopeful and healthy portrait of grief and loss.
The twisted humour did not bother me for a second, for it adds to the authenticity of the story and characters and creates a balanced atmosphere of joy and sadness.
As for the judgemental characters, there is more to them. At first glance perhaps, you will assume them spoiled, shallow, self-absorbed and solely focused on boys and sex but, if you give them a chance by opening your heart and mind to them, you will slowly realize how beautiful the love they feel for their family and loved ones is.
By the end of the book, I wished I were part of the Wishwellian crew, because I wish I could experience every one of the magnificent moments they do, discover more about life and its secrets and… meet the inspiring Gram and her family.
Not only is The Loose Ends List by the talented Carrie Firestone a novel I will never, ever forget, but it is one I will look forward to rereading every year, especially during hard times, since it showed me how important living and loving is and that letting go is part if life, too.
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