Release Date: June 7, 2016Published by: Little Brown Books for Young ReadersStand-aloneSource: TLAFor fans of: Contemporary, Romance, Grief, Sadness, Chick-lit, Debut Author,
First loves. Last Wishes. Letting go.
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.
When I first heard about this book, I knew it was right up my alley. It had the promise of a summer romance, some tear jerking moments, and a cover I adored, As soon as I opened the book, I was completely shocked. It had all those things and so much more that I wasn't expecting.
Maddie's grandmother still acts ass if she's a young adult. She loves her family and is most times the glue that holds them together. One day she gets them all together and tells them some devastating news. She's terminally ill but she wants to take them on a "death with dignity" cruise. Maddie knows this summer just got a lot more interesting."I'm thinking the true unificiation of mankind is actually fear, or death, or penis jokes, or all of the above."
pg. 91 (ARC)
What I liked most about this book was all the emotions that I felt. Maddie's family and everyone else on the cruise is going through SO MUCH. But even still they laugh, they get mad, and some even find romance. This made the book seem so much more like real life because as much as we hate for deaths to happen, they still do, but the survivor's lives still go on. This book helps to show that and after seeing someone in my family die from the same disease, this book helped me personally alot. In the end I laughed, I cried, and I swooned, and I loved every minute of it."Take the pain and grow beauty. [...] It's from searing pain that the deepest beauty can sprout"
pg. 108 (ARC)
Another thing I liked about this one was the traveling. I started this blog because as a child I never really got to go places and I always loved being able to travel without moving off the couch. And with this book going the exotic places like Jamaica and Iceland, I was in love. To make it even better it gave some very real descriptions like the Corcovado Mountains and some geysers and the Equator and so much more. I felt like I was right there with them."But if this trip has taught me anything, it's that the only thing guaranteed is this very moment."
pg. 222 (ARC)
As for the summer romance, I wasn't really a huge fan. Only because I felt it unnecessary. The book could've been done without him I think. But this was a coming of age book and so some instancs he mwant a little more to the story, but overall, I think them flirting would have worked just fine. Also, some things between them just happened way too fast. There's even a quote from the grandmother that I just wanted to keep shouting at her because that's exactly what she was doing."You never know what's going to hit you."
pg. 254 (ARC)
The only thing I wasn't really a fan of was the "over the topness" of some of the characters. They had way too many conversations about a certain character's Irritable Bowel Syndrome and some other things that I just felt were too much. But then there were some things that were just funny instead of gross, but even still that was too much."How do we go from this to death?"
pg. 261 (ARC)
This book has so much that's going on, but I think that's what I liked most about it. It had comedic relief, it had some swoony times, and so much more. It really made for a good debut and I can't wait to see what else Firestone has in store for the YA world."If there's a shred of hope, I'm going to hold on to it."
pg. 293 (ARC)
Overall, I give this