It’s a summer for first love, last wishes, and letting go.
Maddie has big plans to spend the last months before college tying up high school “loose ends” alongside her best friends. Then her beloved grandmother drops two bombshells: (1) Gram is dying. (2) She’s taking her entire family on a round-the-world cruise of dreams come true—but at the end, Gram won’t be returning home.
With a promise to live in the now without regrets, Maddie boards the Wishwell determined to make every moment count. She finds new friends in her fellow Wishwellians, takes advantage of the trip’s many luxuries, gets even closer to her quirky family, and falls for painfully gorgeous Enzo. But despite the copious laughter, headiness of first love, and wonder of the glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram, and she struggles to find the strength to let go in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, grief, and laughter.
Oh boy. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a truly freaking amazing book. And this one is a total gem. It’s a sapphire. I have to say that it didn’t intrigue me at first. It seemed palpably devastating, and I didn’t want to read about some Nicholas Sparks-style cliches.
This book was whip-smart and in a league of its own. I loved reading about the snow globe moments. It was an epic odyssey, a love story, a family farewell, and a coming of age tale rolled into one. It was hilarious and tragic all at the same time. I loved hearing about the stories of everyone we got to meet on the Wishwell, but also felt a deep connection to each of Astrid’s wonderful family members. I never thought someone like Jeb could win me over. But there you have it — a welcome surprise. I also wonder how Astrid and Aaron made amends. Did I miss that part due to Maddie’s happy bubble of love?
Every family member has faults. They’re all such well-rounded and dynamic people. They have nuanced stories (the dolls? I love it!). I really enjoyed Maddie as a protagonist. It’s so easy to envision this queen bee with her scrunch face, ready to have a time over the summer. And she truly does, even though it’s not the kind of summer she imagined. I love that popular people can be depicted as straightedge and considerate. They often get a bad rep, and that’s undeserved.
Astrid’s loose ends list was something else. I loved Heinz’s story arc from beginning to end. Heck, I loved everyone’s lives and stories. I wish Maddie and Enzo’s story got tied up properly. But Francesca’s gratitude was an amazingly unexpected touch, and the scene with the bee in Central Park made the story feel so much grander than the microcosm we saw. Can we please transport 18 years into the future? I want a happily ever after for Maddie and her first (or perhaps a different) great love, and I want Grace to learn everything about her incredible mother.
Tragic, beautiful, and lovely. This book made me laugh and filled my heart. I cannot recommend it enough!
- Decked With Holly – Marni Bates
- Firecracker – David Iserson
- Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters – Natalie Standiford
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
- Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard