Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: The Loose Ends List - Carrie Firestone

The Loose Ends List
Carrie Firestone 
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC received at BEA!

Ya'll, I'm back. And as luck would have it, the first book I'm actually reviewing in a really long time ended up being a not so great one (sigh). I /promise/ I'll review something I really enjoyed soon but for now stick with me as we delve into The Loose Ends List, which Kiersten picked up as an ARC from this years BEA (which I sadly could not attend because finals and 1500 miles away). 

Alright, so I'm not going to lie to you and say that I was super excited to read this book at the start -- I wasn't, but I'm all about giving things chances because you never know what you might love, right? Wrong. So the premise of the book is that our main protagonist Maddie is a girl who lives a pretty cushy life and then one day before she makes her way to college, her Gram who is apparently on the brink of death, decides that her whole family should go on some cruise so that they might have the summer of their dreams and cope with the grief to come or something. This wasn't the issue I had with the book, it seemed kind of confusing but a lot of books have weird family backgrounds to make the plot work, so I genuinely thought that might be interesting. What concerned me was this:
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.
What is posted above is from the blurb. Read this and tell me right now that Maddie falling in her "first love" with Enzo on some death cruise doesn't scream insta-love to you. BUT NONETHELESS, I read the book.

Alright so you guys might have been confused about the death cruise -- don't worry, Gram didn't set them up for a depressing Carnival cruise while everyone else around them partied away happily. This is some sort of ominous cruise in which everyone can "die with dignity." I honestly still think its a pretty weird concept but unique enough, and it was honestly the most interesting thing about the book, so thats where this book's points come from.

Anyway, whilst dying with dignity, our characters travel the globe -- the descriptions of the actual countries were cool but the descriptions of the people who lived in the countries weren't. More on that later. But the actual discussion of death in all of this was done pretty well in my opinion; the book would've benefitted greatly if only death was more relevant and Enzo as a character was just completely cut out.

Okay now that I've sufficiently explained the only real perks about the book, let me tackle what I wasn't a fan of. I've read quite a few reviews of this book that discuss how funny it is and honestly, while I'm all for a well placed penis joke, this was just ridiculous. I am a person who laughs out loud at books when they are funny, and I promise you I didn't laugh even once during this book. Alright, moving past the humor, the characters: Maddie was honestly so annoying. Her instalove with Enzo was predictable and so quick that it didn't make any sense to be her "first love." Everything outside of the death conversation was just so /predictable/. Instalove. Maddie was a rich white girl from a rich white family who did rich things. Her friends and family are described through flat static descriptions -- slut. alcoholic. the nice one. overly honest grandma. the virgin. The humor was so centered around these stereotypical/archaic ideas of what people should be -- I'm not joking when I say 99% of the humor was about penises and poop (Maddie has IBS for literally no real reason other than to make some crude jokes). 

The plot was vaguely interesting but the characters were honestly written so statically that I had no interest in even trying to like them slowly over the course of the book. Overall, not a fan. However, this book has really great reviews and I only saw a few that saw the book from my point of view, so there's a pretty good chance you might like it! Let me know how you feel so I have someone to talk about this with :)

- Amrutha

How would you tie up your loose ends?
Let us know in the comments!

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