The Loose Ends List
Summary:Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect summer with her best friends. 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.
Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. 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.
I was really looking forward to The Loose Ends List because I absolutely adore books set on cruises, but, unfortunately, it failed to live up to my expectations.
17-year-old Maddie’s fantasy of a perfect summer break is shattered when her grandmother suddenly announces she has cancer. And, instead of getting treatment, her grandmother has decided to take the entire family on a cruise where all the passengers are terminally ill.
Unfortunately, Maddie is an extremely hard character to like. She is selfish, spoiled and only cares about two things: herself and boys. In fact, when she steps on the cruise and sees a hot boy all she can think is:
“I’m so excited. I never thought I’d be hooking up on this trip.”
She’s so self-absorbed that she doesn’t even think about the fact that her grandmother has cancer.
Furthermore, I didn’t find Maddie’s grandmother to be realistically portrayed. I understand Carrie Firestone wanted to portray her as “hip” and “trendy”, but the comments that Maddie’s grandmother made felt completely contrived and unrealistic:
“Wow, your breasts are perky.” She squeezes my boob. “Poor Janie inherited my big bosom.”
(Reminder: this is a grandmother talking to her granddaughter…)
I found out this morning that the reason Gram keeps disappearing isn’t to bang Bob Johns five times a day, like she claims.
Lastly, the romance is filled with instalove. Maddie sees the love interest once and instantly declares that she is “in love with him.” The first time they meet, they immediately begin kissing.
Ultimately, the combination of Maddie’s selfish character and the instalove just didn’t work for me. It’s a shame because the concept and the setting had so much raw potential.