Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publish Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Publisher for honest review
Ratng: Direct Hit
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?
I never thought I'd find such a wonderful story hidden behind this unassuming cover and strange description, but there it sits, nonetheless.
I would describe Arnston's writing as uncluttered. He doesn't use extravagant descriptions or take more time than necessary to get the point across and it works splendidly. Often times, this kind of approach creates a disjointed story that doesn't pull you in, but that isn't the case with The Wrap-Up List. The writing makes all the emotions more palpable and real. During the last few chapters I was finding it difficult to read because my tears were making everything blurry. And what an ending it was. Beautiful and yet melancholy. I honestly didn't have any idea how it would turn out either.
Gabriella is an admirable character. She is shocked and mournful when she first receives her letter. But then she comes to terms with it. She keeps it together and doesn't spend her last week tears. She works towards getting her pardon, but she's also there for her friends. It should be the other way around, and they are there for her, but she's right there supporting them as well. She's not helping them mourn the loss of her, she's helping them continue their lives once she's gone.
I love how much Gabriella grows as a person in her last week, as well. She starts to have different views on life and start forming opinions that she can call her own.
The Nutshell: Don't let the simple cover and somewhat strange description put you off of The Wrap-Up List as it is an amazing book. The story is one that's completely new and yet still conveys some of the struggles most of us go through in our lives whether it be in our teenage years or when we face death, that of a loved one or your own. I know this will end up being another book buried under all the shiny covers and trendy plotlines, but it's a book that deserves to be read.