Sometimes you read a book that surprises you in magical and unexpected ways. A book that just GETS to you. And, before you know what is happening, you find yourself so completely invested in it you can think of little else...even after you've read the final page and returned it to the library. This book doesn't have to be action-packed, doesns't have to be about a grand romance, doesn't have to have a unique plot twist or feature a beloved dog that actually lives. But something about the book gets inside you and doesn't let go. And you know you'll remember this book for a long time. This is what happened for me with This Adventure Ends, the latest offering by author Emma Mills.
This Adventure Ends centers around Sloane and the events that happen her senior year of high school. Although smart, funny and, in general, a nice person, Sloane has always been kind of a loner. Sure, she's hung out with people, but she's never had any real friends. And that's how she expects it to be when her family moves from New York to Florida so her novelist father can get over his writer's block.
Then, while at a party, Sloane stands up for shy Gabe Fuller, a boy she doesn't even know. This gets her an immediate "In" with Gabe's tight-knit circle of friends: Vera (Gabe's social media-obsessed twin), Aubry, Remy, and party-boy Frank. These become the sort of magical friendships one usually only finds in books and movies. The sort of friends who would do anything for each other. Sloane can't believe her luck (although a part of her is always waiting for the other shoe to drop). But something tragic lurks below this perfect surface. Months earlier, Gabe and Vera's artist mom died. And her legacy to her children, a very special painting she completed just before the end, is missing. Taken to a local gallery and sold immediately...and then re-sold again and again. Sloane makes it her mission to track down this painting for her new friends. And everything unfolds from there.
Unlike the title implies, This Adventure Ends isn't about a grand adventue. At least not compared to, say, Frodo's epic quest to dispose of the Ring of Power or Alice's trippy trip to Wonderland. Rather, what's so striking about this story is its characters and their relationships with each other. Sloane and her friends are so realistic they leap from the pages, flaws and all. Even minor characters are multi-layered. But mainly this book just has a lot of heart. And that's something that can only be experienced in the reading.
This one is highly, highly recommended! --AJB