Both a Loose Ends List and a cruise ship like the Wish Well are unique ideas. I cannot say that I would want to ever participate in either activity, but I enjoyed reading about them well enough. I honestly probably would have been just like Maddie in terms of her reaction to the Wish Well. I can be quirky and weird about death in much the same way that Maddie was (meaning death give me the heebie-jeebies).
So ultimately, I found the main character of the story, Maddie, relatable and likable. In fact, her whole family was likable despite the fact that many of them have issues. Each character had very limited page time, but I still felt like they were developed and like I knew them. I knew who they were down to the core. So, Ms. Firestone did a fantastic job in terms of character development (and growth!).
Gram was an endearing kook that always had me laughing–at least until I was crying. It probably wasn’t a good idea for me to read a book that focuses on the death of a grandparent just one week after I lost one of my own grandparents. I was bawling. Ms. Firestone really captured the mentality of the dying and the grieving. The pumpkin metaphor, while gross (haha), is accurate.
The one thing that set this story back for me is the lack of chemistry between Maddie and Enzo. Sure, I could see that they had a connection of some type, but it wasn’t as strong as it could have been/needed to be. I understand that it’s a YA read and there is not going to be a great amount of sizzle, but despite the declarations and the physical connection, Maddie and Enzo’s relationship felt more platonic than romantic to me. I was still rooting for them, but I did become somewhat bored with them.
The Loose Ends List definitely has a family-centric storyline, and that was really its greatest strength.