We, readers, are very special and different creatures. We have a thousand different ways of picking our next read. Some of us have a certain subgenre that calls time and time again, others find impossible to pass books that feature a particular trope, and some others can't say no to a pretty face or in this case, cover. Today I am here to admit that I belong to the last group. I judge books by its cover, sometimes. Too many times. Sue me, but some covers are just too beautiful to deny them to your TBR and much less to your precious shelf.
Which brings me to my point: like everything else in life - from your hot crush to that pie that looks delicious behind the bakery glass - looks can be deceiving. Some pretty faces hide empty heads or heartless chests, and your pie could end up being dry and taste like sh... not good. The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone has a gorgeous cover. The hardback edition is one of the most BEAUTIFUL books I have ever stumbled upon. But this shiny and perfect book... hides an empty head, a heartless chest and definitely tastes like sh... yeah. Not good. So. Not. Good.
The Loose Ends List? More like The Loose dull-judgemental-naive-and-rich-family List.
What do I start with? I could definitely begin with the fact that I had to DNF this book half way through. Yes, I didn't - ok, couldn't - finish it. Regardless, you would be surprised by the amount of things I have to say having read only half of it. And really, shame on The Loose Ends List, because (a) it's not like I love letting my hater side out to write such negative reviews and (b) this was supposed to be a fun and light read with a gorgeous shelf-worthy cover.
Funny thing is that I rarely DNF a book. I give a few chances to a story before I can bring myself to do it. The Loose Ends List started making me roll my eyes more times than I can take, and at some point it just pissed me straight off. But trust me, I have my reasons and I will gladly share them with you.
Let's start with our main character, Maddie, who is one of the few MCs I've ever encountered and disliked since page one. No, since word one. The author attempts to describe her like a fun and popular but actually smart and insecure teenager, FAILING completely. The combination of traits attributed to Maddie didn't make any sense. Instead of relatable, I found her character annoying, absolutely shallow, self-centered, judgemental and sometimes seriously naive.
And speaking of judgemental. Her family. This array of secondary characters that is Maddie's family tries so hard to be different and over the top great, funny and cool, which in my opinion makes them simply unrealistic; then, they also are a bunch of judgemental people, which is definitely a trait for every family member. I thought the story could have been saved by the grandmother, but at some point her fun personality and uniqueness was again so over the top that seemed more phoney than anything.
But wait, this is not everything. I'd like to highlight some points, please.
(1) Situation: Maddie's cousin Janie gets hung up on one of the cruise's doctors, an apparently handsome, caring, funny and smart guy that really likes her (Janie's words). But, he has a "pickle sized penis" (Janie's words again). OH THE DESPAIR. OH THE DRAMA. Janie and Maddie go on and on about this stupid and funny-less pickle issue for pages. Pages worth of whether or not to dump the doctor, involving some of their equally superficial relatives. They are in a cruise where people go to spend their last days of life with their families, but hooking up is more important? Well that's what Janie and Maddie are more concerned about. And of course, how great is that with the excuse of being funny, the author dismisses how important it is that a man is caring, funny and smart just because his penis is small? Setting high standards and good example for teenagers all over the world.
“I’m so excited. I never thought I’d be hooking up on this trip.”
(2) Situation: at some point they have to stop in Brazil to pick up a new passenger. They hear that the new passenger is an old man from Germany, well, this is the conversation this awesomely smart and zero judgemental family has:
Oh it gets better, that is followed by the possibility of that guy gassing their long lost relatives in the Holocaust.
WHAT IN THE WORLD...?! Is this seriously supposed to be funny? It's not. I can't even comprehend for the love of me, how this would ever be funny. The pickle penis is nothing compared to this. Seriously, is the author really joking about the Holocaust and gassing people? And joking about elder German people being Nazis? Young adults all around the world, uninformed about this event in history might be reading this and unconsciously think that it's okay to joke around and call someone a Nazi because of their German nationality. This is not dark humour, this is something not to joke about. You have to set high standards and good examples for teenagers all over the world.
(3) Finally, there's the totally unnecessary love interest - I have even forgotten his name, that's how crucial his role was - who makes this story even more nonsensical if possible. Situation: our intrepid and fantastic MC Maddie, sees him, obviously insta-falls for him and decides to call him Mystery Guy. Then, oh holy guacamole, he is not only good looking, but a surfer with a British accent! What are the odds! He spends every summer on the Cruise because he is the owner's son and he confesses it's the first time he feels attracted to a passenger! Holy caw! What are the odds again!! Maddie is so very special. Of course the hot guy with the accent magically falls for her.
She also has such a strong and unique personality that not long after confessing she doesn't drink alcohol afraid of ending up like her (alcoholic) mother, accepts beer from THIS MYSTERY GUY THAT SHE KNOWS FOR, oh yes, FIVE MINUTES. Hold up, it gets better, later in the book she even smokes weed without really wanting to after being peer pressured by the love of her life for 5 minutes, her brother and her cousin Janie. Because love works that way. Once again, setting high standards and good example for teenagers all over the world.
So, does The Loose Ends List deserve to be on your TBR list?
Looks are deceiving folks, and in my opinion, The Loose Ends List has a pretty cover and nothing to offer. A 1 star book indefinitely.
Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending The Aus. Library a review copy