Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine's grandmother is a young-at-heart socialite who has always been Maddie's go-to confidante. Although Maddie and the rest of her family have learned to expect the unexpected from their matriarch, Gram still manages to shock them all when she announces that she has booked the O'Neill clan on a secret death-with-dignity ship called the Wishwell; Gram has terminal cancer and is determined to leave the world in her own way--and give her family an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.
Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her wacky family. Aboard the ship, Maddie bonds with other Wishwellians and falls for Enzo, the son of the ship's owner, as they travel the globe. But despite the copious laugher, 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 the power of forgiveness.
What I Have to Say
I think the thing I like most about this book is that, while being a book that is generally pro-euthanasia, it didn't get into the debate. There were some characters who didn't agree at all, who stayed behind and didn't go on the cruise and others who didn't agree with certain cases, but other than the odd comment here and there, they didn't voice their opinions. I felt it left the reader with the freedom to make up their own mind because there weren't passionate arguments trying to convince them either way. All that they saw was the pain and suffering of some of the guests and the choices that each of them made.
It's pretty obvious that this is a sad book. I mean, any book with death and euthanasia as the main theme was always going to be, but it was written in a way that kept it light-hearted. The aim of cruise was to have fun and celebrate the lives of those about to die and the crazy adventures kept it very upbeat and lighthearted. It's the kind of book that you don't look back on and think of how it stomped your heart out and drove you to tears, even though in the end, of course it did.
Truly, I think that this is a beautiful book. It was well crafted to deal with a sad and very hotly debated issue in a way that masks the heavy topic behind lightheartedness and levity without losing the real point of the book. I'm so glad I got the chance to read it.
My thanks go to Netgalley and Hodder Children's Books for providing me with this copy for review.