Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma MillsThis Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on October 4, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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five-stars

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

Emma Mill’s First & Then was adorably and fluffy and bantery, and all good things. This Adventure Ends is all of that but seriously levels up on the intensity and the feelings. The character arcs in this book are something. I actually started this book, and I wasn’t sure at first, from some combination of hype and being in a seriously anxious mood that day, but the next day there were the feelings and oh my god. This book means a lot to me on a personal level, and it’s just really amazing in general.

Sloane might take some getting used to. I mean, she’s amazing right off the back; literally, in her first scene, she completely destroys a bully using nothing but her wits and sarcasm. Obviously, you immediately like Sloane. She’s a tough cookie, and she’s the sort of person who will always stand up for someone who’s being picked on or bullied. She can’t not. However, by the same token, she’s also one of the most defensive characters you will ever meet, in both good and bad ways. Sloane has this wall up, and she tries not to actually get invested in her own life, so that she can protect herself from getting hurt, and she has no fucking clue she’s doing that. So at times she’s a bit distant and her feelings seem a bit off, because she’s not actually acknowledging them and generally doing everything she can to ignore or willfully misinterpret them.

Girl one hundred percent does not know what to do with feelings and sentiment. When people feel strong emotions nearby, she feels deeply uncomfortable, wondering if she should like pat them and go there there or just go with her old standby of cracking a joke. Sloane’s afraid of commitment, not just to romantic relationships but to friendships too. She’s afraid to choose someone because they might not choose her back. This book made me feel things. And I’m so glad that there are more and more female characters like Sloane, who aren’t good with feelings and emotions and sentiment, even though those are typically considered feminine by our society.

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The obvious arc here is that Sloane, whose family has moved from New York City to Florida while her dad tries to do something about his writer’s block, makes friends and discovers all that she’s been missing. I’ve read this arc before, and I’ll probably always love it when it’s done well. Mills does an especially good job with it. Sloane, in small dust ups with various friends, keeps getting these hints of how she comes off to others, and she’s so puzzled by them. Finally, after the big terrible painful moment, she really starts to think about who she is and how she acts, and that’s how that went down for me. I RELATE A LITTLE OKAY. But yeah, it’s so interesting how differently a person can be to others than they perceive themselves to be. Others comment on how serious Sloane is, and she doesn’t get it because she’s constantly making jokes.

At first, I thought the friend group in This Adventure Ends was nigh unbelievably quirky and perfect, but, as Sloane gets to know them better, cracks start to show. I like the slight tension between Aubrey and Sloane as Vera’s two best friends, and that they develop a tentative friendship. I like that there are fights, big and small, and that they work through them as a group. I like that parts of the group are more cohesive than others. You can actually almost feel some of them growing apart as you read. Frank Sanger’s amazing, but he’s the one character that does seem larger than life to a throwing me out of the book degree. Anyway, massive friendship feels okay. The amount that it means to find people in your life who accept you and appreciate you and laugh at your stupid jokes is incalculable.

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Sloane’s relationship with her dad takes a very prominent place in This Adventure Ends, though, curiously, you don’t see too much of her mom (though the mom appearances are hilariously awkward questions about boys and are aces). Her father’s a famous author, who writes books that bear a strong resemblance to Nicholas Sparks novels. I’ve read several YA novels that poked fun at Sparks, like Anna and the French Kiss, and This Adventure Ends varies a bit from the typical handling in a way I really appreciate.

Her dad’s books are ridiculous, yes, but Sloane actually loves them, while acknowledging the flaws. She’s read them all more times than she could count. Her dad loves her, and he’s so funny and likable. Generally, this sort of fictional author character is an asshole, but he’s a genuinely nice guy. It’s massively cute watching him descend into fandom over a fictional Teen Wolf. He starts researching writing by reading fan fic, comparing what is literary and wins praise with what people actually like. There’s a brilliant conversation about happy endings, and it’s a total vindication of happy endings.

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As per usual, I’ve saved my favorite aspect, the romance, to talk about last. My marshmallow heart loves shippy feels, and oh god. I was into Gabe and Sloane from that first scene, but I had to wait forever, because this book is mega slow burn. Sloane doesn’t even know she’s into him for ages. Mills gets the awkward crush stuff so right, like that mega painful scene in the restaurant when she’s picking up dinner or the conversation where Sloane’s literally arguing with herself in her head and says completely what she doesn’t mean because the wrong side won.

Initially, I was iffy on the search for the painting, a search Ron Swanson would have enjoyed immensely. It’s very Sloane to try to see this mistake undone, to try to protect Gabe from the pain of losing the painting, but I wasn’t all that invested in the painting itself. By the end, I loved this frame story (get it), because the search for the painting perfectly parallels Sloane’s emotional arc and the lessons she’s learning.

I’m going to stop rambling now. I’m not really sure who to recommend this book to, since basically everyone I know has already recommended it to me already, but, if you haven’t read the thing, you should read the thing.

Favorite Quote:

“I was like the world’s biggest dick to you.”
“I thought bigger was better.”
“I was like the world’s smallest dick to you.”
He shakes his head. “I was a smaller dick. I was a micropenis.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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One response to “Review: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills”

  1. Review in a gif! So cute! This was definitely one of my favorite books this year and you captured why perfectly. The friendship feels were off the charts, the romance was almost too realistic in that slow burn adorable way, and I laughed out loud at her dad’s descent into fandom. I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book; I loved Vera and Sloane and Gabe especially, but I liked the dynamic of the friend group as a whole. Can’t wait to see what Emma Mills writes next!
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