Monday, August 11, 2014

The Wrap-Up List

The Wrap-Up List
by Steven Arntson

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Gabriela has just received a very disturbing letter.  It was sent by a Death-an eight-foot-tall shimmering gray creature with gills.  The letter is short and to the point: Gabriela has a week left to live, and next Wednesday her Death, Hercule, will show up to escort her into the afterlife whether she's ready of not.  Gabriela is devastated.  Dying is bad, sure, but dying without ever having kissed the dreamy Sylvester Hale is even worse.

Gabriela isn't the only one in need of a first kiss-three of her friends would love theirs too.  She's determined to put their romantic affairs in order before her time runs out.  There is one last hope, though: Gabriela's Death has a secret weakness.  If Gabriela can figure it out, she might be able to trick him into letting her go...

It's a week of firsts for best friends, but Gabriela has to play it smart.  Otherwise, this week will be her last.
From the book jacket

Review:  What an enjoyable, quirky read!  At first I thought that this book would mainly be about teenagers finding romance but I was wrong.  While there was an aspect of the book since that was what she put on her wrap-up list, this book was about so much more.  We really get to know Gabriela and watch her grow up and try to figure out what Death's weakness is.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen to Gabriela on her departure day.  There are moments that are laugh out loud funny.  Gabriela's Death is quite funny and had me giggle out loud at times.  There were also moments that made me tear up.

While this book was an enjoyable read, it also had flaws.  This book seems like it is set in the present day USA but yet there are Deaths and we are on the verge of war over immigration.  There was no explanation on what happened to our world to make it that there are Deaths and departures.  There also was some randomness of Gabriela's thoughts.  It appeared like the author was trying to Gabriela from point A to point B but couldn't figure out how to get there so added some very odd details in her thought process.  I chose to overlook those moments and just move on with the story but if you try to figure them out, you may get quite lost.  I think the author tried too hard with Gabriela's friends-they are quite multicultural and diverse.  I didn't think that needed to be there in order to make a good book but yet the author kept pointing out their diverseness.  Gabriela's religion, Catholicism, also played a big role but yet religion didn't seem to matter that much to Gabriela, it was important to her father.  It just didn't seem to make the most sense in the book.

Was this book enjoyable?  Absolutely!  Did this book have flaws?  Of course!  Did the flaws outweigh the good parts of the book?  Not at all.  I enjoyed the story that I was willing to overlook most of the flaws and keep reading which is why I'm struggling with the rating.  Was it good?  Of course!  Did I really like it?  Maybe.  It is a fast, easy read and relatively short so you might as well give it a shot to see what you think.

Rating: 4 stars (or maybe 3 1/2 stars)

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