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July 2016 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Trip of a lifetime • Seize the day • Perfect endings
Always heartwarming, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a sublime novel about living, loving and savouring every precious moment.
As Maddie plans her pre-college summer vacation, her wealthy, flamboyant grandmother, Gram, drops a bombshell. She doesn't have long to live and she’s taking the whole family on a cruise, but not “one of those tacky, eat-all-you-want buffet ships”, she explains. Rather, this is a voyage for the dying and their loved ones, during which the passenger-patients aboard the good ship Wishwell will choose their time to be sent to sleep. Maddie’s family is reeling with shock when Gram springs another surprise. The love of her life wasn’t the man she spent most of her life married to. That honour goes to Bob Johns, the joyous, dreadlocked jazz-loving Jamaican whom she couldn't marry in the “backwards-ass world of the 1940s”, and he’s coming with them. During the trip of a lifetime, Maddie becomes “ship sisters” with 32-year-old Paige, and falls madly in love, as they travel to places of Gram’s choosing where she ticks off items on her incredible loose ends list before her journey ends.
This remarkable debut is abundant in life lessons (live to the full, be fearless, be forgiving) but perhaps the most gorgeous message of all comes from Gram. “Take the pain and grow beauty”, she advises. Every bit as poignant on the subject of popping your clogs as it is on popping your cherry (a summary I reckon straight-talking Gram would approve of), this book will make you laugh, cry and emerge from its pages feeling monumentally uplifted. ~ Joanne Owen
White and privileged Maddie Levine never could have imagined that she'd spend the summer before college anywhere other than with her best girlfriends, kissing boys and soaking up sun at the club. She certainly never imagined that her beloved grandmother and family matriarch would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and whisk the whole family off on an eight-week, death-with-dignity cruise as her final farewell. While readers know from the very beginning how this story will end, they will be surprised to discover that the journey is far more about life than death. Maddie's first-person account is filled with humor and fun, introducing readers to a raunchy, heartwarming, and endearingly dysfunctional family. The story is made all the richer by a cast of quirky supporting characters that includes her two gay uncles, a sweet and slutty cousin, her larger-than-life grandmother, and a small handful of terminal patients and their families who are celebrating and grieving alongside them. Best of all is the achingly romantic love story that unexpectedly blossoms between Maddie and a fellow shipmate and lends the story much-appreciated moments of passion and levity.
'A poignant and important story about compassion, love, and the decision to live life on your own terms - right up to the very last minute: all aboard' - STAR REVIEW Kirkus Reviews
|Publication date:||16th June 2016|
|Publisher:||Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers, YA readers|
|Recommendations:||Debuts of the Month, eBooks|
A few things about Carrie Firestone: Her favourite things: My husband, my girls and my rescue dogs. Coffee. Travel. Anything urban. Dancing with my friends. Dancing with total strangers. Movie popcorn. Downton Abbey, House of Cards and Game of Thrones. Learning about other cultures. BOOKS. Blues Traveller, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beastie Boys. Indian Food. Writing about random people doing random things in random places.More About Carrie Firestone