This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (2016)
YA Fiction | Contemporary
“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.” -Goodreads
Expected Publication Date: October 04, 2016
pooled ink Review:
This book is so beautiful! And funny! It is beautifully funny and funnily beautiful! Ahhh Miss Mills, thou hast taken my heart.
I am a huge fan of the wit and humor in this book. There is a beautiful level of casual sarcasm throughout and I love it. Plenty of solid wordplay that I could only ever read in a book, hear in a movie, or come up with long after the moment has passed.
The plot pulses forward at a natural pace, it doesn’t rush but it doesn’t dawdle either. Rather it winds along carrying you off on a journey. I didn’t devour this book reading a billion words a minute, but I also couldn’t put it down. It was like a good conversation with a good friend. It didn’t race, it didn’t push, it simply flowed. You might have a few guesses about what might happen, and yeah you might be right, but everything stays a touch realistically hazy so you never really know until you get there. I sat down this evening to begin reading and (except for a trip to Walmart via my brother) I read this book in one seating that pushed way past my bedtime. I don’t regret a minute of it.
I did get the impression that there were some aspects of Sloane’s life that never got to surface, things that were felt or hinted at but never brought to light, and strings that never got revisited or tied up at the end, but I also sort of feel like that’s okay because while they were a part of who Sloane was and is they weren’t a part of this particular adventure. The grand quest may have ended but Sloane’s life is so wonderfully far from over.
Sloane is incredibly chill, not in an “I don’t care about anything” way but more in a “I do me, you do you” sort of way. Sucked into the friendship circle of ex-athletes and social media celebrities she plays a dark horse, but they’re all good human beings with friendship potential so she takes their gushing enthusiasm in stride. But, as Vera so astutely points out, Sloane is rather serious. She’s definitely not on the energetic, enthusiastic, living young and fancy free vibe as Vera is (but no one is like Vera, she’s special like that). She’s almost a bit…caged. Her sense of humor is endless and relentlessly amusing but at the same time it’s a barrier between her and the world, a barrier between her and her heart. Having crack-whip humor is a fabulous attribute until it starts deflecting anything deeper. As the pages turn and Sloane embeds herself more and more in this sunny Florida life we watch as the cage shudders and swells allowing the passion of a thousand suns to burst free…much to her chagrin (ha! Well that’s what you get for making fun of poetic language in romantic books!).
I understand where Sloane is coming from though, when she wonders if she’s cold underneath her humor. I also understand when she wonders that if deep down beneath the coldness that there throbs a core of deep emotion that has too much potential to care too much. And maybe it’s a good thing to keep it caged up, maybe it’s safer that way…but also, maybe keeping that grand potential coiled up hidden deep down in a crevice of your soul could be a hindrance, an unforgivable blockage. Life is indeed for the living, but living implies more than the basic pumping of blood through the body, it encompasses all of the beautiful trappings and magic that is emotion, all emotion. If you imprison even one emotion, then are you fully living? And if that one emotion is the scariest, riskiest one of all, if that one emotion is love…then what are you living for, or are you living at all?
Those who hold back love, those who resist its power, whether as a gentle caress or a raging inferno or a steadying anchor, those are the people who are lonely without realizing the tragedy they are caught in. A person can be alone and not suffer, but loneliness is a cruel type of suffering and it is cruel because oftentimes those afflicted are not aware of its devouring presence and as such they do not know to seek change, rather they wither away unwittingly unfulfilled. I have been alone and I have been lonely. I get it, Sloane. Maybe not in the exact way you do, for after all we are two very different people (not to mention you’re also just a fictional character), but I do get it.
That’s something I loved about this book (one of many things). I loved how it portrayed each character, how it showed how each person felt lonely but also how they all felt love. It expressed different types of loneliness and different types of love. This book isn’t some melodrama full of angst and tears. It’s honestly pretty fantastically amusing throughout. But that’s real life, isn’t it? I mean, outside of The CW network how many people’s lives are actual melodramas?? In my experience most people live through life day after average day pretty okay, they smile and they’re fine…but that doesn’t mean that somewhere underneath it all they might be a little bit lonely too.
Gah! I don’t know, maybe I’m latching onto the wrong thing in this book. It truly is a lovely book full of life, friendship, love, family, ups and downs. But that’s a sort of special thing about art (and I mean all art – dance, paintings, theatre, literature, etc.), we get to experience it with our own individual knapsack of memories and perspectives, and we get to take away from that art our own individual prescription. A thousand people could see the same image, the same performance, the same story…but they will all inevitably take away what they really need. Perhaps it was the anger in the art that spoke to them, perhaps it was the forgiveness, perhaps it was the reassuring brushstrokes, the decisive slices through the air made by the dancer’s pointed feet, the haunted look in the actor’s eyes at the pinnacle of their monologue, or even the ridiculous over-illustrated silly metaphors for love written in a book.
Art is a piece of a person’s soul shared with the world so that from it others may find what they need, feel what they need, realize what they need. Not what they think they need, but what they actually need. You can walk away from art gushing all about the razzle-dazzle or rolling your eyes at its incomprehensible oddness, but if you let yourself shut up for a minute you’ll find your mind wandering, confessing, reflecting. Art can be harsh, calming, witty, blunt, elusive, stark, striking, subtle, abstract, painful, silly, or a billion other adjectives. Art is truth. Art is change. Even when it lies it speaks the truth. This is why I am an artist and this is why I love art. And yes, books count as an art form. Congrats, Mills, ya nailed me. I know for a fact (because we’re not robots, we’re individual human beings with individual opinions) that not everyone will swoon off their seats or stay up way into the wee hours of the night gulping the words down with rabid eagerness like a die-hard Twihard…but I also know that it’s a pretty awesome book that I really enjoyed. I connected with it and because of that I’m recommending it for others who enjoy Contemporary YA.
(I probably did a confusing and terrible job of expressing art in words but in my defense it’s a pretty abstract philosophical topic and it’s seriously way past my usual bedtime so my brain can’t be held totally liable)
I had the good fortune to meet Emma Mills when she visited Atlanta, GA on the Fierce Reads book tour for her debut novel, First & Then. I knew at that Q&A that she was pretty rad and I couldn’t wait to read her book. First & Then is still on my wish list and after having the luck of Cinderella to get picked to receive an ARC for This Adventure Ends I am so moving First & Then to the top section of my wish list.
Cute, poignant, graceful, thundering, wrought with emotion, and oozing with a scintillating sense of humor, This Adventure Ends is a standout story proving that Emma Mills is an author to contend with when it comes to the contemporary realm of beauty in life and love.
P.S. My “honest babble” really babbled this time, didn’t it? Well if you want the simple basics of a more English class analysis, here you go: Characters? Awesome, diverse, individual, real, I loved all of them. World building? Good. Plot? High-five. Heart? Friendship mostly, and yes full of heart. Romance? Refreshingly realistic and not at all overwhelming…it’s a part of the story but it’s not all of the story. Ending? Pshh as if I’d tell you anything about that.
Purchase here: This Adventure Ends
Meet Emma Mills!
Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also cocreator and cohost of the “life skills” channel How to Adult.
Bonus: Fierce Reads Q&A, Atlanta, GA