Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on October 4th 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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 enjoyed the author’s previous book First and Then so much that I couldn’t not pick this one up! This Adventure Ends is wholly original and definitely went straight to my heart. I think the blurb really discredits the book – it’s a bit boring in my opinion and certainly doesn’t attract attention. In fact, throughout the book I felt like not much was really happening, but once I looked back I realized how much character growth we got to see within Sloane and her friend group. Normally I’m critical with contemporary, but this author’s books haven’t failed me yet.
We start from the very beginning at a party. Sloane is a HI~LA~RI~OUS character. All of the dialogue in this story is pure gold, but part of that is because it’s from Sloane’s POV and her part of the dialogue is always clever and ridiculously funny. So, using that hilarity, she defends a boy named Gabe at the party, which is when she starts to get pulled into Gabe’s friend group. He has a twin sister name Vera who’s super popular in the internet, as well as friends named Aubrey and Remy that we get to know a little better throughout the book. And of course, the effervescent Frank, who hosts only the grandest parties. (I liken him to Gatbsy for some reason because of his skills as a party host and charisma.) But all of this is super new to Sloane, who recently moved from New York to Florida. She’s inundated by all these new friends (?) when before, she was always comfortable with being lonely.
Loneliness was a kind of wanting, but it was also this incredible freedom. Not having to depend on anyone or have anyone depend on her. No one to disappoint or be disappointed by. Alone was good and comforting and dependable.
Wow, the character introspection in here was hardcore. Sloane’s thoughts and revelations really resonated within me, especially because I could see myself thinking those same thoughts. There are thoughts about relationships and how fleeting they can be, as well as how you really know you like or love someone or something, or the way you mask that kind of love with an aura of cynicism and laughter (which is what Sloane does). She’s great at singing, but plays it off as no big deal. She starts becoming close with a boy, but doesn’t really act much on their chemistry. She knows about the hardships her dad is dealing with, but treats his new work with fandoms as a joke.
‘But come on,’ I shake my head. ‘I mean, no one loves anyone that much. Right? No one… feels it like that.’
And that’s the kind of behavior that isn’t uncommon in adolescents, you know? In This Adventure Ends, Sloane goes more of a mental adventure, if anything. She discovers how she really feels about people and interests, and gets a sense of self-discovery that’ll carry her and her friends forward for the future. There are very cute and unique moments along this adventure that help shape her discovery. One is the fact that her prolific author-dad, who is in a writing slump, gets his groove back by reading fanfiction of a Were TV Show (having to do with Werewolves). This was another hilarious aspect of the book that was portrayed so achingly accurate – even teaching Sloane terms like ship and canon and AU. I mean, that fangirl life can get pretty complicated sometimes, right? And while she plays the fanfic her dad writes as a bit of a joke, Sloane is actually pretty invested in his writing and books.
‘We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about, don’t you think?’
There’s a light romance in this novel that kind of acts like the frosting on the cake. If you’ve read First and Then, then it’s really similar. Gabe and Sloane have great chemistry, but they really don’t act on it much throughout the book. Sloane veils the attraction with her quick wit and jocular attitude, while Gabe’s reticence makes it a bit hard for her to gauge his feelings. However, their progression near the end is definitely satisfying, especially as Sloane starts to discover what it’s like to really have a friend group.
This Adventure Ends really promises the start of an adventure, in terms of friendships and relationships. We see a myriad of realistic relationships develop and end (romantic, platonic, or otherwise), all the while through the eyes of a loner who finally finds the people that she belongs with. Fans of contemporary are sure to enjoy this one, and anyone else who’s looking for a light read that makes you quite thoughtful, all within the bounds of magnetic dialogue and characters that just breathe life.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Macmillan for the review copy!