Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

Title: The Loose Ends List

Author: Carrie Firestone

Rating: 4 Stars

This book had so much packed into it that I honestly just feel like I need to re-read it because I'm concerned I might have missed something. And I don't want to have missed anything about this debut. It's strange and bizarrely unique but I can't deny that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Loose Ends List is about a family whose matriarch is dying of cancer. When she decides that her last wish is for her family to join her on a cruise around the world, they are helpless in the face of her disease. Maddie, our protagonist, loves her Gram and it's difficult for her to not only see her health slowly deteriorate, but it's equally hard for her to come to terms with the fact that the other members of the cruise are also dying. For a novel with such a morbid premise, there is a palpable sense of humor underlying these pages. It isn't bogged down by its subject matter but rather it celebrates the life of its characters and I commend Firestone for walking this fine line with aplomb.

Surprisingly, this book is about traveling and discovering new places and putting yourself out there, no matter how much time you have left. It's about family and holding on and learning to forgive and move on. It's about facing your fears and owning who you are, regardless of your sexuality or relationship status. There isn't a lot of friendship drama, here, but Maddie and her cousin are as close as sisters and their evolving relationship passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. Maddie's family dynamics, not just with her Gram but with her mother and father and brother, are all sources of thoughtful, remarkable characterization. Her romance with Enzo, the son of the cruise company owner, is deep and heart-breaking, but also open, trusting, and full of growth for both of them. Maddie forces Enzo out of his shell and, in turn, Enzo shows Maddie what a relationship built on equality and trust can be like.

But there is so much more that I loved about this novel. I loved its honest, open conversations about sex. I loved its inclusion of an older generation of characters who we often overlook and like to pretend don’t exist in YA. I loved the difficulty with which Maddie makes bonds with those dying on the cruise ship and has to cope with that grief. There is so much grief, in this book, but there is also so much to be thankful for and to celebrate—Firestone really, truly doesn’t make this a tragedy and for that, I loved it most of all. It’s a really different, unique novel and not everyone will love it, but I certainly did. A re-read is in my future, not to mention a close stalking of Firestone’s future releases. You can bet I’ll be pre-ordering them at the first chance I get.


  1. There are older generations in YA...whaaaat?

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I wasn't really sure about it - I've heard mixed things. It sounds like a nice read though.

  3. It's the first time I hear about it and it looks good!

  4. I love the cover for this and the humor sounds interesting! Great review, Keertana!

  5. What a great cover! I've seen this book before but I never really read much about it. It sounds like the author did a really good job in exploring sexuality and sexual themes - which is so powerful, in YA. I agree, YA definitely does seem to exclude older generations. I personally only have one grandparent and I'm not close with her (she is in another country!) so it warms my heart when grandparents play a big role in a YA character's life - because I never had that, growing up or even now. Anyway! Wonderful review, Keertana!

    Have a fabulous week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  6. I have this one on my wishlist but I know it will make me cry so I've been avoiding it. You are making that harder with this review. GAH! ;) Anything that has you wanting to do a reread (in a good way) makes me want to pick it up.

  7. This sounds like such a beautiful read Keertana, I do love books which usually sound like they're set on one theme, but then they end up bringing so much more to the story. I also do love my family oriented stories, so I shall definitely be adding this to my tbr! Gorgeous review as always! :)

  8. I haven't heard of this one but I love the way you've described it, Keertana. I always love when books feature families and I think it's awesome that this also includes a grandparent. The romance sounds pretty great too. I'm adding it to my wishlist!

  9. This book went under my radar for some reason. Thanks for you enthusiastic and beautiful review! This sounds unique and very appealing to me. I appreciate when the author can write about grieve and death in a hopeful way. I added this book to my tbr-list.

  10. The Loose Ends List is such a unique premise and hits quite a few heavy issues. Firestone's writing is beautiful, her are characters full of life, and I really really didn't want this book to end.


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