Tying Up Some Loose Ends
Oh, hello there! This review contains spoilers about one of my favorite romance-and-grief books, The Loose Ends List, by Carrie Firestone. I read this book a few days ago, and I absolutely loved it! This book is definitely for Teens, but it is also YA, too. It’s about when you start becoming an adult and experience your first love. Your first everything, in general—anyway, on with the review!
“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.” – Goodreads.
I really love this book—not love love, but I have a strong affection towards it. It’s so relatable—from falling in love overseas, to have a loved one leave the earth… it just made me remember my very own snow globe moments (you’ll see later in the book) and laugh along Maddie. It’s just… too relatable.
This amazing book starts when Madelaine (called Maddie) receives a text from her grandmother, who tells her to come to her apartment. Maddie’s immediately alarmed, as she never gets a text message from Gram—but usually phone calls.
It is revealed later, that Gram decided to reunite the whole family to tell them the news: she has pancreatic cancer, and she doesn’t want any treatment. She decides to bring them all to a cruise (yes, a cruise) around the world, and according to her, it will make them closer.
Maddie’s lunatic aunt doesn’t want to be on the cruise, and neither her other daughter, Brit. So, her lunatic aunt, called Aunt Mary, leaves and doesn’t even say goodbye. What she doesn’t know, however, is that Gram is not coming back from the trip.
So, Aunt Mary’s other daughter, Janie, comes to the trip, because she’s not at all like her mother and wants to spend time with her grandmother.
So, the day when they have to go to the cruise comes, and everyone is excited, yet nervous. After all, Gram isn’t going to come back—she’s going to die overseas whenever she feels like it.
When they get to the cruise, an attendant tells them to hand their phones. If I were there, I would just call the rest of my family and tell them I won’t be having a phone for six weeks… but the characters here were honestly overreacting—they didn’t want to let go of their phones.
So, when the attendant gives them what’s similar to a phone, they’re all tranquilized. They’re called “bees,” because they’re yellow and they buzz.
At this point of the book, I just love it. From the way Maddie’s family socializes with one another, makes me have a warm feeling in my stomach. I just want to curl up in some blankets and drink hot chocolate, because this book is just perfect for every single teenage girl.
So, when each one of them are assigned cabins, Maddie is delighted to know that she and Janie will be sharing one, full of Vogue stacks, and items that identified them.
I don’t want to spoil a lot of the book, so I’m going to make this review short and sweet. It’s just wonderful and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have.
Anyways, in summary, Maddie meets gorgeous Italian doctor named Enzo, who happens to be the ship owner’s son. He has a tragic backstory—his father died, and he was swallowed by grief.
I was totally there for #madenzo (yes, I made that ship name up, haha), and not just because it is an overseas love, but because it’s a totally healthy relationship. They both say their “I love yous,” while sober, and they demonstrate their infinite love for each other again and again.
Now, on for the book review…
I give this book an 8.5/10, but let’s get to the analytical parts first!
(a) The imagery was just outstanding! Everything, from the scenery in the pink beaches of Bermuda, to the wonderful Sneffels volcano in Iceland!
(b) The character development wasn’t truly there, but we can see that some characters matured while some didn’t.
(c) The transitions were OK, though mostly I didn’t get to see them. They were mostly hidden by a transition “graphic,” or design, such as printed flowers. I would’ve loved to see the author challenge herself and use transitional words and phrases.
(d) The message of this book was important: we should all cherish life and our loved ones with all our might. This is a big spoiler, but since Enzo had to left because he was a doctor and is a Wishwell worker, made Maddie realize how much she loved him. How much she loved Gram. How much she loved everyone—the message this book implies is just great.
Now, let’s get to the emotional part…
I think I cried when Gram died… not only because she was wacky, funny, and weird (in a good kind of way), but because she had personality and loved everyone she invited to come with her during this trip.
I cried when Enzo had to leave Maddie, because they were just true love. They were made for each other, but after all, our first loves don’t always last forever.
I think I have shed so much tears in here than while reading the Harry Potter books, which is surprising, but after all, understandable. Does not crying when Dumbledore die make me a heartless person? I was just in shock, I was paralyzed. OK, fine, I’ll stop with the HP rambling…
I just didn’t make this a 9 because it’s sad. But you know, it’s okay to read sad books. It’s okay to relate with sad stories. It’s okay to do all of these things—because sometimes books are like real life. Most of the time they are… you know what I mean, dear reader!
I hope that you absolutely love this book and cry and remember that Pink Smoothie will always be there for you. Have a nice day!
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