(Why relevant, you ask? Because I’m leaving home and going back to university and all of that tomorrow ahhhhh). Anyway, I got on a bit of a YA Contemporary kick in january, and This Adventure Ends was one of the good ones 🙂
Title: This Adventure Ends
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Themes: Friendship, moving to new places, making friends, art, father-daughter relationships, twins
Shanti’s always been a big fan of Emma Mills, and I have to admit that I’ve read all her books too (although I wouldn’t call myself a superfan or anything). I read Foolish Hearts in one day last summer, and although I read a few chapters the night before, I finished this in a similar time, mostly lying outside in the sun after days of travelling and in a state of severe sleep deprivation.
It’s about Sloane (a terrible name, by the way), who moves to Florida from New York with her family before her last year of high school. She ends up being entangled in a great friend group. The plot has a few story lines—it’s following her making friends, it’s about searching for art, it’s about her father’s struggle with writer’s block (he’s a famous romance writer), it’s about fandom, it’s about social media.
One issue I had with the book is that Sloane’s past is alluded to—she wasn’t super happy at school and didn’t really have any friends to leave behind in New York. But this is never really explained, nor is the effect it has on her character. Also, she’s supposedly into classical singing, which is cool, but then it’s mostly a side thing that doesn’t make it into most of the story. She says she cares about it but this is very much told and not really shown. Sloane gets a job early in the book, yet this doesn’t really appear in the story again.
Arguably, this book is too ambitious with its themes: they talk about social media (and one character, Vera, is an influencer) but there’s no conclusion. Sloane is angry with her dad for writing a book that is basically about her, but then resigns herself to is without further argument. There’s this talk about the power of fandom but it doesn’t feel focused. And there is this search for a painting. You could say the result of that doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion. But the journey to getting there worked very well as a way to link parts of the story and the characters. And these multiple motifs are kind of like life: a bit of a jumble, different parts important at different times.
I liked that the setting played a role in the story, that there was an actual setting rather than generic-American-high-school. I suppose the beach didn’t play a huge role, but I liked that it was there.
Another thing I really liked is that when the characters fight, they proceed to actually apologise rather than refuse to talk to each other.
I liked Sloane’s character. She liked to make stupid jokes, which I enjoyed. And she felt round and well developed and unique. There were subtle parts of the inner first person monologue that consistently revealed what kind of person she was. I especially loved her relationship with her father, and her father’s character, which felt a lot like my relationship with my dad in various ways (he is NOT a romance writer, for the record).
This book had a lot of clichés—dead parents, lots of high school parties (I LOVED the idea of Frank Sanger Presents, even though I have really never been to a party like that), and a convenient and very cute younger sibling. But it managed to combine these with a compelling story that (while there is romance on the side) focuses wholly on the healing, transformative power of friendship. Four stars.
Oh yes I don’t think I will rate each aspect individually any more! Anyway, have you read this? Do you get in to a theme of books and keep reading the same types? Do you read books recommended by family members?