Cringe, Cringe, Cringe: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O’Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie’s closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. 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 – and give the O’Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

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.

Source: GoodReads

The dog has already read her share of a bad book for the next six months or so, so I’ll take the displeasure of reviewing The Loose Ends List. Carrie Firestone should’ve put a warning on this one about having alcohol near you when you read it, because it makes me feel like I need a triple vodka and not because this book was a poignant journey for me. Rather, because I feel like I need to deck something after reading it.

There are so many reasons why this book just didn’t work for me. At first I thought it was because the main character was a privileged brat. I mean, there is no concept for reality for this character at all. I knew she wasn’t going to be poor or even middle class when I started reading this book, BUT it was a little ridiculous.

Also, it didn’t help that there was a rampant amount of girl hate in this book and the main character really didn’t interact with that many people her age which in all honesty was probably for the best. We are told though that Maddie is fairly popular at the beginning of the book, but honestly I don’t know who’d want to be friends with her.   Her “E” group friends are a bunch of shallow twits. Her one quasi friend she ignores in public places because—ew, she’s a weirdo because she likes Star Trek.

I kid you not.

So, I think it’s safe to see why I didn’t like Maddie. And I’m not even talking about her insta romance that was a whole other can of bad.

The rest of the characters are pretty flat. I think that Firestone wanted to focus on family, but all the characters are glorified archetypes—you have the kick ass grandma, the cool gay uncle, the drunk mother, the prude aunt whose daughter is a so called “slut”. Pick a stereotype it existed.


Even the whole dying with dignity plotline felt like manufactured drama for tears. Honestly, I wish that this book would’ve actually had a better discussion about this issue.   It’s not as dimensional as the book is making it out to be and there’s something about teenagers having Love Boat moments that sort of cheapens the whole thing.

And I’m not even going to talk about all the body oriented jokes this book had. Seriously, one or two jokes about anatomy might be okay, but it seemed like anytime Firestone got bored she threw in a penis or boob joke, or joke about IBS, and I was like shaking my head. It was just so cringe worthy

I shouldn’t be that surprised this book is so low brow though.   I mean, I really wondered what Firestone thought the average reader’s IQ was. We are told that Maddie is pretty smart yet she constantly says stupid shit like expecting to see the equator.

That’s right she expects that she should somehow physically be able to see the freaking equator after acquiring a high school diploma.

 I have no words for that folks.

I know some people said they got a little teary eyed especially with all the snowglobe moments that the book had, but to be honest I didn’t give a fuck. It just felt like manufactured much like all those teary eyed movies they play on the Hallmark channel and all I can say is fuck that. Especially when the next page after this so called moment there’s a penis joke or something equally crass.

Overall Rating: Fail. Get your privileged ass off of my shelf, book.