29 August 2016

Review #515: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”

----Steve Maraboli

Carrie Firestone, an American author, pens her debut YA contemporary fiction novel, The Loose Ends List that narrates the story of a young high school "soon-to-be-graduated" girl who decides to live her life and enjoy the last few days of summer before she joins college, but her grandmother is dying and takes her along with her extended crazy and quirky family to a voyage around the world on a cruise, and things are about to change for her.


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.

Maddie Levine wants to check out the things that she want to do in the summers before she zooms off to college from her much awaited and most anticipated bucket list, but little did she knew that her guardian and her dearest grandmother, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer for quite a long time and that she wants to take her whole family on an around-the-globe voyage on a cruise ship. Maddie could not say no to her Gram as she is dying and the grief of losing the only closest person of her family ached her heart, so Maddie along with her extended and nearest quirky, lewd and lusty family members go on a cruise around the world, where Maddie meets and falls for a fellow passenger and thereby checking off quite a few "firsts" from her bucket list.

Right from the very beginning, the story tugged at the strings of my heart's deepest emotions and played it on its own tunes. So I felt like riding high on an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, happiness, satisfaction as well as buckets and buckets of tears, and all these emotions are projected so sensitively and strikingly by the author into the story line and while reading, I felt like the author has poured all her best emotions into the story to make her readers feel it deeply. The story line is bit cliched yet somehow there are so many realistic moments that will make the readers forget about its predictable climax or a bitter sweet and sexy love story.

The author's writing style is articulate that readers will find it easy to comprehend with. The narrative from this book is funny, poignant and free flowing that will engage the readers into the heart of the story in no time. The pacing of the book sails smoothly just like their cruise without any major bumps or rather say layers, as the story is crystal clear right from the very start.

The characters from the book well etched out with humor and enough realism in their demeanor, nonetheless, the author has projected a diverse and unconventional cast of characters who are so much open about sexual relationships and especially sex, and sometime they make fun of it or make lewd remarks about it. The raw raunchiness in their attitude definitely set them apart from the main character, Maddie, who evolves through out the plot with the burden of grief and losing her grandmother as well as falling in love for the first time. Overall the characters from the grandmother to the uncles to the freakish relatives are all extremely full of life, even though they are honoring the dying wish of the eldest member of the family, yet somehow, they are enjoying every moment in that cruise.

In a nutshell, this is a poignant yet entertaining young adult contemporary story that screams out the message of living live to the fullest without any restrictions, meaning to lead a good life with happiness and laughter.

Verdict: Compelling, heart touching and extremely fulfilling YA contemporary novel.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently  lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs)  to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.
Visit her here

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