Hey look, my first review!
I’m starting off small, to ease my way into the whole reviewing thing. I was originally going to start off with my review of the Six of Crows duology, but I always have a hard time having a well rounded conversation about books that I completely adore, so I need more time to create a review for SoC that isn’t “oh my god I love this book so much everyone needs to read it!!!”. So for now, I’m starting off strong with a book that I was very middle of the road with.
I’m going to try and keep the spoilers to a minimum and only refer to the summary and first few chapters of the book. So let’s get started!
Title: The Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published: October 4th, 2016
Length: 320 pages
Edition I Read: hardcover
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 ★
My Actual Rating: 3.5/5 ★
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.
I’ve mentioned before that This Adventure Ends was a cover buy for me. Most of my contemporary reads are, but this cover was just…amazing. At first I was only interested to see if it was a textured cover, and it’s not, the dust jacket just looks like a textured painting. But after picking it up and reading the synopsis I figured I’d give it a chance. Reading contemporary novels is really something I save for the summertime – quick reads for day trips to the beach or by the pool – so I thought it was a perfect book for July!
In general I really enjoyed the book, I read it in two sittings – it would have been one, but I started reading right before we were supposed to leave for a wedding – and it was really entertaining. However I was expecting a little bit more from the novel as a whole. I felt the writing was strong throughout, there were just some places I felt were lacking. I’ve split up my review into two sections Characters and Plot.
One of the parts of this novel that really made me want to read it was that the summary introduced a more character and friendship than romance, which is typical for a contemporary young adult novel. I wasn’t disappointed either. These characters were so well written, and the intertwining friendships were so real it felt like I was back in high school and actually was friends with these people. The way that Emma Mills wrote these teens was so genuine, and the characters were what drove me to finish the book.
There are too many books where these teenagers have their lives together. They know exactly what they want to do with their lives, they know who they want to marry, etc. But the characters in This Adventure Ends were struggling with college choices at the end of their senior year, dealing with typical friendship drama that comes with being put in a friend group that’s been around since they were in kindergarten, and just relationship drama in general. But my favorite character didn’t come in the form of a teenager in this young adult, but an adult, which is surprising.
Sloane, the main character, and the rest of her family moved to Florida from New York City to help her father get inspiration for another novel. Desperate for inspiration her father turns to a show very similar to Teen Wolf and the fan fiction written for those characters. Suddenly I found myself relating to the father of the main character instead of the main character and it was an odd feeling, but it was hysterical. Her father was so well written as an embarrassing father going through a midlife/creative crisis and on top of that, Mills avoided the typical idea in Young Adult novels where the adults and the parents aren’t to be trusted or aren’t reliable. It was refreshing to see.
While I felt that most of the characters in this book were well written, I have to say that the details only really applied to some of the characters. In a friend group of six characters, there were only two or three fleshed out characters. For example, Aubrey is one of Vera’s best friends, but we know about 2 things about her: she is in choir with Sloane, and she dated Remy. That’s it. A character who supposedly knew Vera and Gabe since they were kids, and that’s all the information we get about her.
I found some gaps in characteristics in all of the characters as I read. Sloane is apparently a trained singer and is good, to the point where she wants to make a career out of it. However, it’s mentioned maybe a few times. But the largest gap in characteristics I saw in this book is Vera’s social media presence. The summary of the story puts emphasis on the fact she – in Vera’s own words, “does things on the internet” – so I figured it would be a huge part of the plot. It wasn’t. There was a mention of it I think twice, which was unfortunate because I was really interested in seeing how that played out, since starting YouTube channels and “doing things on the internet” is really big currently.
In terms of romance, there was a lot more than I was expecting. At some points in the book it felt like the entire cast of male characters were love interests for Sloane, and most of the time it felt forced. I love the character she ended up with, I think he’s great, but there was an underlying feeling of “who does she like? I’m not following” the entire time I read it.
The plot, I think, was original and really interesting! The whole idea of the missing painting really pulled me into the story, but then unfortunately it didn’t take up as much time in the plot as the romances did. Which, in a way really shows how well Mills went into the teenage mind. For kids in their senior year, who have to be thinking about college, and passing classes and what their future holds, things get put on the back burner. The painting was the one of those things.
I wasn’t expecting the father reading fanfiction or being obsessed with a TV show marketed for a teen audience, but I really enjoyed it! Like I said before it took a step away from the idea that parents don’t understand their kids or parents aren’t to be trusted, which is a cliche in contemporary YA novels. I really loved it, but I felt that it got a lot more attention than the actual plot with the painting.
There are handfuls of pages that are just snippets of novels by Sloane’s father that she’s reading, or of fanfictions that he has her read. I found myself skimming those moments because I didn’t really feel that they were important.
Overall though, I enjoyed this book! I felt this was a fast and enjoyable read, and I think I’m going to keep an eye out for other Emma Mills books!
Have you guys read This Adventure Ends? What did you think? Comment below to let me know!