Today is a huge release day for books, and I’m so excited to talk about one of my favorite reads of 2016: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I really enjoyed her debut novel First & Then last year, but Mills easily tops that with This Adventure Ends.
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)
I loved This Adventure Ends right from the beginning. We immediately get a sense of Sloane’s strong and determined personality when she stands up to a jerk at a party she’s been dragged to. This is where she meets Gabe and Vera – and their relationships begin from there (one very easily, one not so much).
Fandom and friendships are vital components of the novel. After an unusual introduction to Vera, the two hit it off quickly by discussing Sherlock Holmes and Holmes and Watson’s relationship. Only then does Mills casually introduce the fact that Vera is a social media star, with thousands of followers.
On the other hand, Sloane’s father is a famous author – basically another Nicholas Sparks – and his writing/identity crisis has caused their family to pick up and move to Florida. He’s having a lot of trouble writing his next novel and ends up writing fanfiction of a werewolf tv show as he tries to cope – and in turn, this brings Sloane and her friends to binge-watch the show as Sloane tries to understand her father better. The portrayal of social media and fandoms is spot-on, and yet it doesn’t overpower the humanity of these characters.
The friendships are so well done. Vera is this social media star but that’s one of many aspects of who she is. Sloane and Gabe start off rocky – really rocky – but as they begin to understand where the other is coming from, they start to find all of the connections they have to each other. When Sloane learns that Vera and Gabe’s mother, who was a famous painter, passed away and their father got rid of Gabe’s favorite painting, she becomes determined to track it down for him. She doesn’t tell Gabe what she’s doing, but she recruits some of her friends (and even her father) as she researches, contacts, and travels to find the owner of the painting.
This is only one example of who Sloane is: She takes Vera on a long drive to see her girlfriend when she’s having a rotten day, she uses her sense of humor to lighten tough situations, and she takes the time to connect with one of Vera’s friends who is feeling left out and heartbroken. I’m not saying she’s perfect – at one point during a fight, she throws out insults just because she knows they will hurt, so she definitely has flaws – but these are just some of the reasons you’ll fall in love with Sloane and This Adventure Ends.
This Adventure Ends is a heartfelt story about friendship, family, love, and life. It’s funny, honest, and relatable. The characters and their relationships feel so natural and real, and the story is so relevant to life now in a way that I don’t think will become dated. Emma Mills’ writing is fantastic and her voice is clear and cuts straight to the heart of the story. This Adventure Ends is a beautifully honest portrayal of life, and it will capture your heart and hold onto it long after the last page.