Monday, 4 July 2016

Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

The Loose Ends List
By Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 17th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
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 by Carrie Firestone is a book of beginnings, middles, and ends, but is also a book about firsts and lasts. When I was first pitched the premise of The Lose Ends List by Hachette Book Group Canada, I was intrigued. The story follows the narrative and perspective of Maddie O'Neill Levine. She's lived a wonderful life, most part due to her incredible grandmother, who is also her best friend and closest confidante. When the news that her grandmother is terminally ill arises, her over the top family plans a trip of a lifetime all over the globe to celebrate with their grandmother one last time. Along the way, Maddie meets an exciting cast of characters and even falls in love, but in the end must face that she will soon be saying goodbye to her best friend.

"If you're watching this, I'm dead. I hope you are surviving without me. I was the glue that held this family together. That's not up for debate. But stick together, and you'll be just fine."

Not many books make me cry, but The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone certainly did. I wasn't best friends with my grandmother, but I respected her highly (as one should). I saw (and still see) her as a giver of wisdom, excellent advice, and the odd snarky comment that would make me giggle. Maddie's grandmother was quite similar, and I found it so heartwarming to read Maddie's dialogue and thoughts in respect to her grandmother. The Loose Ends List takes readers into what it feels to first fall in love with a complete stranger, and what it feels like to grieve even though that someone is still with you. Out of personal experience, my mother passed away when I was fairly young from cancer. Maddie's grief was quite reminiscent of my own. I felt like I was grieving the loss of my mother before her passing, and having to read Maddie go through that brought back some memories. Not overly negative ones, but it definitely brought me back to that time, and I couldn't resist picturing myself in Maddie's shoes.

Readers who loved Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, or with a hankering for an emotional contemporary read, are highly recommended The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone.

5 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. Aww I'm sorry for your loss
    This sounds so good by the way

  2. So sorry to hear of your loss. This book made me cry hard too. I really enjoyed it but found Maddie's attitude in the beginning a bit bothersome. What did you think?

    1. Hey Eileen!
      Maddie was a bit annoying at first, but she quickly grew on me =D

  3. Bookish Willow4 July 2016 at 17:44

    Probably not a book I'd voluntarily read because I don't like to cry but it sounds good.

    1. Totally get it, but it's worth a try if you've got room on your reading list =)

  4. I was indifferent towards this book upon hearing about it as I thought it sounded like every other YA novel out there i.e. loved one sick/dying, MC goes through changes, meets new friends, finds love, goes on trip of a lifetime etc. but it sounds like it is really a heartfelt story that I should give a go. I hope I won't be disappointed!

  5. Very sorry to hear of your loss <3 This book does sound like an interesting read and a very emotional one at that. I think I'd really enjoy reading the relationship between Maddie and her grandmother but I'm sure I'd end up in a bucket of tears by the end.