March 11, 2017

The Wrap-Up List: A Rambling Review

The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

13429646This was an odd, quirky little story. It has a fantastical premise (creatures called "Deaths" are responsible for 'departing' certain individuals), and is set sometime in the future (no year is given, but the US is on the brink of what sounds like another world war) and yet it is centered very much on protagonist Gabriela's teenage concerns and daily life. There really isn't much world-building going on, but given this book seems to be more of a contemporary novel with a fantastical premise, I don't know that it really needs a ton of world-building.

Despite the fact that Gabriela's wrap-up list (what she wants to have happen before she departs) is centered on first kisses, romance really doesn't play that large a role in the story. Her "love interest," if you can call him that, is a sad specimen and I honestly don't know why she wanted him as her first kiss. He seemed like kind of a jerk, to be honest. Gabriela's taste in guys aside, however, she was a likeable enough protagonist, although her voice sounded a little younger than her specified age -- more like fourteen rather than sixteen. I enjoyed seeing her Mexican heritage highlighted in a natural, organic sort of way.

My favourite character without a doubt was the Death Hercule. He had attitude. I wish we could have seen even more of him. Just generally, I think some of the side characters could have been fleshed-out more; I would have liked to have seen more of her relationships with friends and family. It felt a little like the basics had been sketched out, but not completely filled in.

Plot-wise, there weren't many "big events" before the climactic scene, and then the ending itself was fairly predictable (highlight for spoilers: for one thing, I totally guessed that the "wait for Gabriela" hint could refer to after Sylvester's departure).



 
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