Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

The Wrap-Up List
The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

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.
Publishes in US: Jan 8th 2013
Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Blkosiner's Book Blog review
         The Wrap-up List features a cast of diverse and fun to read about characters. They feature diversity in their backgrounds, religious preferences, race, and in their sexual identities, but it features a beautiful friendship.
         Gabriela is the main character, and she receives a letter from Death, a magical type creature that escorts you basically to the afterlife, telling her that she has a week to live. She can make requests and she can be given a hint about Death's weakness in order to grant a pardon, meaning basically that she gets to live. Gabriela is typical teenager at first, but then she begins to think of others with her list, and looks into her past to her brave and patriotic grandfather who died a hero in battle for clues.
       Along the journey to first kisses, she learns a lot about herself and about her friends as well. It is a quick and enjoyable story, and I especially liked the slap stick type humor when Hercule showed up on the scene.
     The only thing that I wish were different is a little more explanation about when and how the letters started as well as some sort of context for the upcoming war. It left me with a lot of questions, but once I put that aside, and if you readers can look over that, I think you will enjoy.
       I really like how religion is handled in this book, that it is something that her family does, and she questions it of course, and she has heart to hearts with her priest, but it is not made a big deal out of and it is shown in every day context... Meaning not preachy and well done.
       I also wish that there was more ground work on why Gabriela had a crush on Sylvester, but then again, I suppose that is really how romantic infatuations are... We know little about the person, but we see how they look and know about their public persona, and we are drawn to them. I do think it is well done how they are drawn together, and that it is not instant fall at your feet love, but that it hints the beginning of a possible relationship, and acting out on mutual attraction. It was also well done how two of her friends got together, although again with the third it just seemed like it happened with no real indicators from the other person, but I also guess that the Influence of death worked to escalate things that were already there under the surface.
       As for the plot, it was well paced, and the ending tied everything up very well, and I was satisfied when I put the book down.
       Bottom Line: Enjoyable book with sweet romantic elements. 

My question to you, my lovely readers:
What would you do with a week to live?


  1. This definitely sounds like a nice, sweet read. Thanks for sharing, Brandi. ;)

  2. Oh nice. I didn't know this one but death and religion sound like an interisting mix

    1. I think that when you look at death this way, it brings up religion a lot

  3. This sounds like such a cool story! The concept has definitely grabbed me. Great review and thanks for sharing, Brandi. I definitely want to check out this story!

  4. What an interesting concept! I would be terrified and I can't wait to see how this story ends. Nice review.


  5. First review I've seen of this one. I love the concept of the novel; I think it's something I would really enjoy. Glad you liked it.

    I have NO clue what i'd do if I had a week to live. I guess do some of the things that I've always loved, but really, just spend time with loved ones; maybe finally tell someone I love them (depending on when my last week comes around).

    1. I think people start to take the forefront when time is limited. :)

  6. I got a copy of this book and I'm hoping to love it. I really like what you have to say about the role of religion in books, as it's not always handled well.

  7. I like that there is a sweet romantic element to the story :)

    I guess if I had one week, I'd cherish my moments with my loved ones.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. I read Steven's other book, The Wikkeling and at first this sounded very similar, just for an older audience, but as I read on I found that it probably is quite different.
    He has a sort of whimsical writing style and I really liked it, I'll have to give this one a read as well!

  9. This seems like a neat story. I'd never heard of it or the author before. I like that it handled religion well.
    Great review!

    1. It was just a part of their life, not like a forced issue

  10. It sounds different and intriguing. Glad you liked it.

  11. New to me and it sounds like a light sweet read. I need those from time to time!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  12. Sounds cute but I think I'll be shaking in my boots if I got a letter like that

  13. This is the first time I heard about this book. It seems like a fun read! If I were in the same situation, I will have a beach party with family and close friends. That will be my bon voyage party.


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