BOOK REPORT for This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills 

Cover Story: Palette Cleanser
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: The Fun Never Ends
Bonus Factors: Awesome Grownups, Fandom
Relationship Status: We’ll Go To Very Distant Lands

Cover Story: Palette Cleanser

This is such a pretty cover—the blues and greens, the stars, the thick swaths of paint that practically beg to be touched. You don’t have to know what the book is about to want to touch this cover. It reminds me of those soothing Twitter accounts entirely devoted to mixing paint—yes, they exist, yes, they are fascinating, and no, I won’t admit to exactly how much time I spent watching people mix new paint colors.

Best of all, it actually does have something to do with the story, so it’s not just a trompe l'oeil tease! 

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The Deal:

Sloane has never had the all-consuming friendship that she’s seen between so many of her peers—but when she moves to Florida with her family, suddenly, she finds herself with her very own set of besties. Could this be real? How do these people have this much drama? Do they really like her for her, or are they just putting up with her?

Meanwhile, Sloane’s family is falling apart: her dad, a Nicholas-Sparks-esque writer (except not racist, not a jerk, and definitely not comparing himself to Hemingway), is out of ideas, and it’s straining her parents’ marriage. Her new friends have secrets and tragedies of their own, and somehow, Sloane is in the middle of all this drama, unmoored. Can she solve their problems, and should she even try? Wait—is this what it’s like to have real friends?

Emma Mills has written a delightful tale of the joy of friends, family, and getting over yourself to get out of your own way. 

BFF Charm: Yay

Sloane feels like a real teenager, and that’s 90% of her charm. She’s got so much going for her, but she’s insecure in a very understandable way. You know that old trap where you’re afraid to love something (usually something considered silly) unabashedly because of what other people will think, so you call it a guilty pleasure and hope people won’t judge you too hard, and you end up missing out on potential soul mates because people never really get to know the real you? That’s what Sloane does throughout the entire book, until her new friends call her on it. She puts herself out there, but not too much, in case anyone thinks she cares too much—which is such a relatable, true state of teenage mind that I couldn’t help but love her.

Swoonworthy Scale:

I loved the slow-burn swoon in this book, but if you’re looking for a kissing book, you might be frustrated with how long it takes Sloane and her love interest to get it together. Don’t get me wrong, I was yelling “make out, already,” at my book, but when they finally do get together (this isn’t a spoiler—it’s very clearly foreshadowed in the first few pages), the payoff feels oh-so-satisfying.

Talky Talk: The Fun Never Ends

This was my first Emma Mills book, and I’m in love with her dialogue. It often borders on Tongue-in-Cheek-Teen-Show, especially given the amount of references to the vast array of YA television now available for folks to consume. I’m okay with this, though, especially when it comes to Sloane’s father and his unbridled enthusiasm for fandoms.

I’ll just let her prose speak for itself:

He clicks another tab, and a promo for a TV show begins.

A group of attractive people are slow-motion walking across an empty field while an aggressive guitar riff plays underneath. It cuts in with flashes of scenes from the show, lines like “The stone…it’s the key to all his power!” and “Get out of there! Now!” … 

“Have you heard of this show? It’s on one of those young-people networks. It’s about a bunch of supernatural kids at a suburban high school. Harry Potter meets…GQ, I don’t know, they’re all stupidly attractive.”

“Ew.” 

“Don’t worry, in true Hollywood fashion, they’re twenty-seven-year-olds playing sophomores. This guy James? He’s a dish. Your mom would leave me for him. … There’s like a thirty percent chance I would leave your mom for him.” 

Dad.” 

Bonus Factor: Awesome Grownups

Sloane is a good kid (and so are her friends), which makes sense, because her parents are pretty cool people, too. They have their problems (the threat of divorce hangs heavy over them), but when it comes to treating their daughters like humans, they win. Plus, a nice version of Nicholas Sparks is comedy gold—and Mills plays it to hilarious, sometimes poignant effect.

Bonus Factor: Fandom

Is there any better time for throwing yourself whole-heartedly into a fandom than your teen years? Sure—how about when you’re a famous adult writer, struggling with inspiration? Mills treats the idea of fandom and fanfic with teasing, good-natured reverence, just as one should.

Casting Call:

Bridgit Mendler as Sloane

China Anne McClain as Vera  

Roshon Fegan as Gabe

Relationship Status: We’ll Go To Very Distant Lands

Book, you were exactly the date I had hoped for: fun, witty, and yes, adventurous, with a lot of interesting commentary on feelings, friendships, and finding yourself. You left me with a smile on my face and a hankering for a little more adventure (and, let’s face it, some fanfic). Call me when you’re ready for another date, whether it’s a road trip or even an Adventure Time marathon.

This Adventure Ends is available now.

Jennie lives in San Francisco and has an excessive fondness for historical fiction, spreadsheets, turquoise sparkly things, and bourbon. When she’s not reading, writing, or writing about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, and thrifts for vintage everything.