In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late?
Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life
It’s been a long time since I was sixteen. I’m almost forty now, but I remember clearly how much I wanted to be a good person, growing up. Issues of morality and ethics were forever on my mind. I wanted to find a realistic rightness, something that wouldn’t crack under pressure and that could move forward hopefully, even when things seemed bleak. When I was sixteen, I tried to use writing as a tool in that effort. I’m still trying now. If I made a Wrap-up List for myself today it might look different in some particulars from the one above, but underneath it would still be animated by my wish to make the world a better place, even in a small way. And joining Pink Floyd, too. I mean, why not?
My thoughts on the book:
This is a book that caught my attention based on it's synopsis alone. Yes I am totally intrigued by YA books that have death as a character. I don't know what it is about that, that intrigues me, but it does. More interesting in this story is that Death doesn't just unexpectedly come calling. No, you know when you're being requited, because you get a lovely read envelope in the mail with a letter telling you when your departure from life with be. Our story starts when 16 year old Gabriela gets her letter.
What would you do if you received your departure notice, aka death letter? Well I'd hope if I got something like that and knew I had one week left I would be like Gabriela and create a Wrap Up list. A short list of things I'd want to have accomplished so see happen in the week I had left. That's exactly what she does. I loved her list. Being sixteen Gabriella's was mostly about first kisses. For her, for her friends, and then of course a pardon. Because who wouldn't want to be excused from Death. Despite Gabriella only have 7 days till Death comes, I loved that Gabriela was determined to continue living. She enjoyed all the little moments with family, and friends. She didn't give up, but treasured all the priceless moments more, as well as plotted how she was going to get out of her departure, not something easily done.
Here's the thing about this book, though it does talk about death, this book is anything but dark. Steven Arnston added the right amount of light humor to this story to make it both funny, and slightly moving at times. That really worked for this book. Okay well that and the fact that Gabriela is a bit of a spunky girl, and she's not one to take her impending departure lightly, so she comes up with a plan to out smart Death. The combination of having those realistic moments with family and friends, combined with the right amount of humor made this book a quick, fast paced read, when it easily could have gone down a darker road that wouldn't have been very enjoyable to read. I also liked how Steven was able to give his YA debut both a contemporary and slight supernatural feel to it.
Gabriella has a great cast of characters who support her. From her parents, to her friends, and even her crush, Sylvester. My biggest compliant with this story is that I didn't feel like I really got to know any of them. I'm a reader who is character driven, and I want to feel like I either got to know the characters or at least connect with them on some level, and I didn't feel like I got either of these with this book. Don't get me wrong, this was still a good, quick read, but for me personally I wanted more than just the surface of each character. Over all, this was a good read, and it's one I'd recommend picking up if you're looking for a good read.
Thank you to the publisher, I've got 1 copy of The Wrap Up List to giveaway! To enter, just leave me a comment below! Standard giveaway rules do apply. Good luck!