Sunday, November 20, 2016

this adventure ends: stardust reviews

This Adventure Ends

Emma Mills



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.

full review under the cut!

I read and loved Emma Mills' first novel, First & Then, and so I was absolutely so excited for this one to come out. Let me tell you, there was no sophomore slump here. I loved this one just as much as I did the last, and that is due to a lot of different reasons, including the fact that these characters are some of the most vibrant and alive that I've ever read. Absolutely adore this book, perfect for people looking for a cute contemporary that places a lot of emphasis on friendship and familial love before it even dives into the question of romantic love. A super quick read, it pulls you in so fast and I felt like I couldn't stop until I reached the end. 

This book is about Sloane, who moves from New York City to a small beach town in Florida for her senior year of high school. Sloane is a little bit detached from people her age. She is a classical voice musician, her best friend is her Nicholas Sparks-esque father, and she is incredibly close to her nine year old sister. The move from New York to Florida really doesn't bother her, which was kind of weird in a refreshing way, as most "we're moving" storylines start with an absolute fit on the part of the MC. When she gets to Florida, she finds herself swept into the world of the Fuller twins, Vera and Gabe. Vera is an effervescent, larger than life social media star. You know the type, the girls who have hundreds of thousands of followers for seemingly no apparent reason? Yeah, that's Vera. But she is actually the sweetest and most engaging person ever. Her twin brother, Gabe? Total opposite. Most serious person in the world. Their world is a whirlwind, and they pull Sloane into a world of die-for-you friendships that she has quite literally never known existed. This book is about her learning how to be a friend, how to open herself up to people, and realizing that she has been missing out on really great relationships by not doing so. 

Like I said, the characters in this book are Dynamite with a capital D. Sloane is such an interesting main character, because she kind of has this "I don't care" mindset, and doesn't really try at a lot of things, but it isn't annoying? I don't know how to describe it, it is just really different. I think its because we can see that she has all of these amazing people around her, and maybe she's a little bit worried that she isn't and can never be as wonderful as they are, so she closes herself off. I think we can all relate to closing ourselves off because we don't want to get hurt, and Sloane is a pro at this. I love that she is studies classical voice, even though she brushes it off at first, it was gratifying when she realized that it was something that she actually did love. I liked Sloane's arc a lot, from distant loner to someone who is able to express her feelings for the important people in her life and realize how important they are to her. It was really heartwarming to see. 

Other characters I love: Vera, Gabe, Sloane's Dad, Sloane's sister Laney, Remy, Frank Porter, etc. GAH I just thought that all of these characters were A+. They were kind of ridiculous, but in a believable way, so not too far. Vera was maybe my favorite, because you think that she is going to be this shallow person who can't have real relationships, but it turns out she is the complete opposite. She attracts tons of people towards her, but is incredibly and deeply loyal to her best friends. I loved her magnetism, her optimism, and the effervescent love that she had for her best friends. I thought her realtionship with Tash was adorable, and I love the twin dynamic between her and Gabe and the BFF ship between her and Sloane. Gabe was also a great character. I love that he and Vera are twins but he is so completely her opposite it is insane. Where she is bubbly and outgoing and happy, he is introverted and serious and a little bit snarky. I thought that he and Sloane had the best banter, and I loved those moments where it seemed like he was surprised by how much he liked her. I liked the sort of slow burn nature of his romance with Sloane, like I thought they were going to get together, but then they were just friends for a long time and I was unsure if it was actually going to happen. I liked that they were ride or die friends before anything romantic happened between them.

Sloane's dad... scratch what I said about Vera being my favorite, HE was for sure my number one favorite. I thought he was HILARIOUS and an amazing dad. I love that Sloane said he was her best friend, and instead of being embarrassed by the type of books that he writes, she was super supportive of him. I was so surprised and supremely amused when he got so into that Teen Wolf-esque show... to the point where he was reading and writing copious amounts of slash fanfiction about it. That was so unexpected but actually the funniest thing ever for me. I love that Sloane and her dad and Remy bonded over their love for Were School. God he was great. There aren't a lot of father figures that I love in YA, but he is definitely one. Laney was the cutest, I wish she had been in it more! But the moments that she was were great sister bonding times. Remy was great, I loved seeing a healthy and close male-female friendship that was never going to turn into anything more between him and Sloane. Frank Porter was... in a word... dazzling. I thought he was the most random but completely amazing character. I definitely know a few Frank Porters :) 

As much as I loved the characters in this book, I wouldn't have loved the book as a whole as much if they didn't occupy an engaging plot. And they definitely did. I thought that it was so interesting the way different forms of art, whether that was writing or singing or painting, took center stage at different times. I loved that Sloane went to such lengths to find the twin's mother's painting, because they meant so much to her but she couldn't find the words to express that. I loved that, above all, this book was about finding the people that would do anything for you, no matter what it was. As Gabe puts it, the friends that will get punched or do the punching for you. The hide the body friends. I loved the way the friendships developed, not overnight, but over time. I thought it was so heartwarming when Sloane realized that not only did she have a ton of love for her friends, but that they had the same amount of love for her, and that was really overwhelming. I am so drawn to books about real friendships, strong friendships, so that is a huge reason why I adored this one. 


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