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The Loose Ends List

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  3,403 ratings  ·  705 reviews
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 h
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Eleni Kavros DeGraw The book is awesome--funny, off color, delightful. There will be tears shed but I think you will love the conclusion. I have a review on here somewher…moreThe book is awesome--funny, off color, delightful. There will be tears shed but I think you will love the conclusion. I have a review on here somewhere if you are interested. (less)
Erin Milligan all through the book, there are moments that definitely made me cry. I would say there is a lot, at least for me.
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Emily May
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
“You’re a wise old lady, Astrid North O’Neill.” I lean over and kiss her cheek.
“Who’s calling me old, you little shit?"

A wonderful, character-driven story about family, that is both touching and hilarious, though maybe steer clear if you don't have a slightly dark, dirty sense of humour.

I didn't really know what to expect from The Loose Ends List. There have been plenty of positive reviews, but negative ones too, and it seemed like it could be a total cheesefest. A grandparent suddenly anno
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I don't really know how to rate this so my rating may change. I have very mixed feelings. There were things I enjoyed and there were things I didn't enjoy. I loved the family dynamic. The concept was interesting, weird but interesting. I loved the approach it took with grief, I thought that was well done. I could have definitely done without the romance, it felt like an unnecessary addition and I really didn't care for the relationship anyways. I also wasn't too fond of the main character and th ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is called The Loose Ends List, but I'm calling it A Series of Uncomfortable Events.

It was bad guys. Like, really, really bad.


Let's start off with this plot:

This is the summer before Maddie setts off to college at NYU, and everything's pretty mapped out until her grandma drops a bomb on the whole family. 1.) She's dying. 2.) She's booked a trip on a cruise where she'll bring the whole family together and then "die with dignity" at the end of it.

Bizarre or creative? I honestly don't k
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Great concept, terrible terrible execution

The loose ends list could have been easily be the most emotional and beautiful contemporary if it wasn't for the most shittiest characters ever. I would have even overlooked the cringey humour and stilted writing but even then their were so many negatives here that it's impossible to rate it any higher.

I'm tempted to give this book 1 star given the fact how angry I'm but I can't ignore that there are many good things about it too. The loose ends list dea
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley.)

“It’s my biggest nightmare – a dinner party where people introduce themselves by telling you how they’re dying.”

This was a YA contemporary story, about a girl whose grandmother was dying.

I felt quite sorry for Maddie in this book as having to spend the entire summer watching her grandmother die couldn’t have been easy. I also thought that the added gr

An amazing, touching story which talks a lot about death but still manages to make you smile! I had no idea what to expect when I started reading it. It appeared on my feed and then the next thing I know is that I am reading this book. The blurb might look simple; A story of a girl who is suddenly being told that her grandmother is ill and has decided to take the entire family to a 'death with dignity' cruise ship. But what it doesn't tell is how the family is full of crazy and lovable people an
Jillian Reynolds (Jillian Loves Books)
Disclaimer: Really not trying to offend anyone with this review and/or the angry thoughts here. If you enjoyed this book, hats off to you. But I just can't get behind the fat shaming, virgin shaming, slut shaming, and the fact that the main character puts a boy and sex over her dying grandma (and this isn't even the tip of the iceberg with the problematic elements of this book)....



I'm trying to figure out if I should even review this, because I'm borderline wishing I never even read it
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An incredible debut novel! Well-written and tugs at your heartstrings.
This is a young-adult fiction that reminds me of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." It's a coming-of-age story with a twist: Maddie, the young protagonist in this story, comes to grips with her own life and family by learning some life lessons through death.
This novel made me both laugh and cry, and I don't remember thinking, "boring...let's get to a good part" EVER. I think a teen would relate to the characters, and pos
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
i finally (finally, FINALLY) posted my review of this at yes, it's been five months since i read it and wrote this review...what of it? ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
“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 fa
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this but I decided to pick it up as it sounded unique to anything I've read before, and it definitely was. But I'm still not totally decided on how I felt about it. Some things I enjoyed, others not so much.

I think my favourite part of the whole book was the travel element. I really enjoyed the descriptions of each individual country. I felt as though I was travelling the world with them and loved it!

Despite it being a character driven story, I didn't
Maddie's grandmother has a deadly cancer, so her last wish is to take the entire family on a cruise ship where she can celebrate her life. Maddie's family is living life to the fullest. Jet setting around the world, travelling from the ship to different countries, hiking in volcanoes, swimming in hot springs, eating gelato in Rome, the adventures are endless. But we all know there's going to be an ending, and Maddie herself isn't prepared to say good-bye to her beloved grandmother.

Why would you
Laurie Uhlig
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The written word is almost as important to me as breathing, so I am a voracious reader. It is astounding to me that The Loose Ends List is a first novel from Carrie Firestone. The plot is unique and made me conclude that booking one's family on a "death with dignity cruise ship and leaving the world in one's own unique way" is a wonderful way to deal with impending death. I have experienced the loss, pain, emotional agony, and difficulty of witnessing death as I lost my father and my little sis ...more
Eleni Kavros DeGraw
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
17-year-old Maddie is looking forward to a fun, romp of a summer when she receives the news that her wild and fearless Gram has a terminal illness. Gram’s last wish is for her entire family to join her on a cruise around the world and that includes Maddie and a cast of characters not easily forgotten.

Firestone delivers a delightful story that takes turns making you laugh out loud or have tears streaming down your cheeks--not an easy task in a debut young adult novel. Her characters include peopl
alana ♡
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
“The pain of losing doesn't get less with each person I lose. But I have the wisdom of knowing the pain isn't forever. That fades. The memories stay. And the love isn't going anywhere.”

This book will make you laugh, make you cry, and then make you laugh some more. It was the perfect about of happiness, seriousness, and sadness to get you through what you know will be an inevitably sad book.

Maddie planned on spending the few months before going away to college checking off everything on her "Lo
Jan Waterbury
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of The Loose Ends List in exchange for an honest review. Maddie is expecting her usual summer of swimming at the country club and partying with her friends. Attending college in New York City in the fall, Maddie expects to use her grandmother's apartment as a place to find respite (and fun!) when she needs a break from college life. Two weeks before graduation, Maddie's life and plans are shaken up when her beloved Gram announces to the extended family that she is terminally il ...more
Kay Lenarcic
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of The Loose Ends List in exchange for an honest review. This is a wonderful debut novel by Carrie Firestone. From beginning to end, I loved every minute of the ride teenager Maddie and her dying grandmother Astrid took me on. Death with dignity, a cruise ship, summer romance, laugh out loud antics and many tears, this book has appeal for all readers. Although the target audience is Young Adults, do yourself a favor . . . read this book and you will start to think about your ow ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Probably more like 3.5/5 stars but whatever


I was right when I predicted that I would cry during this book. I did. Not ugly crying or anything but I won't insult anyone reading this by lying and pretending I didn't shed a tear or two. This book hit me right in the feels. I'm not sure if it's because it resonated with me personally or because it was genuinely sad but still. I'll be reviewing this in more detail on my channel this weekend so stay tune
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
Review posted on ItsJaneLindsey. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of those rare instances in which all of the ingredients are right, but the cake isn’t baked properly and thus the end result is an unsatisfying mess. I wanted to read The Loose Ends List because it’s billed as a book about “death with dignity” – when a person decides to end their life in order to relieve pain and suffering, often due to a terminal illness. Euthanasia is still a rath
Ray Lenarcic
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've always had a problem with death. In fact, over time I've been able to relegate it so far into the back of my mind that it became a non-subject. Then I read Carrie's book. Objectively, it is brilliantly written, replete with characters richly developed and with a clearly defined moral. It will appeal to readers regardless of age. Subjectively, it resolved for me the problem of dealing with my death. When the time comes, I'll have planned my trip on my own Wishwellian and be afforded a final ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. Ma
Dec 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary

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
Dawn Selnes
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn into this book one page 1. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! ...more
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was exactly what I needed right now..full of family and love and death. The story's take on death (A rich grandmother takes her family on a cruise around the world to tie up 'loose ends' and learn to say goodbye), was beautiful. The variety of characters on the cruise ship (half of whom are suffering terminal illnesses and ready to end their lives) are wonderfully unique and inspiring. My only issues - I couldn't stand the main character; yes, she makes good growth and deals with pain ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know you've read an incredible book when you find yourself missing the characters and wondering what happened to them next. From the underlying lessons and the outrageous characters to amazing adventures, I loved everything about this story. In some parts I felt like a teenager reliving my youth, in others an adult realizing the inevitability of death. I read this quote last week and love it even more now: "You only live once. False. You live every day, you only die once." This book inspires ...more
Lisa Berman
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Loose Ends List by my friend Carrie Firestone was a fantastic read! A wonderous journey of a young girl, grandma, and who she meets on a voyage of discovery of life!!!
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very engrossing and thought provoking. Could not put it down. This book will be quite appealing to a wide audience.
"There's an unspoken recognition, as if we are bound by unrelenting grief." ...more
T.J. Burns
The Loose Ends List is utterly brilliant! The writing is so descriptive, metaphoric, and beautiful. The premise is original, creative, and so off-the-wall unexpected.

This story jolted me from one feeling to the next so quickly -- like an emotional roller coaster. It actually brought tears to my eyes one moment, and then seconds later, I was laughing out loud! Brilliant!

The characters are amazing! So eclectic, interesting, entertaining, diverse.

Maddie’s thought process is entertaining to follow
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