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Series: No, ALAS
Release date: October 4th, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Length: 320 pages
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Rating: SQUAD GOALS
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 NEVER WANTED THIS ADVENTURE TO END. I fell in love with this group of friends so freaking hard I can't find the words. (Psych, I totally found them).
This book hit me in every single feel I have (which, if you didn't know, is a LOT--I am a very emotional little bean) and I was so not expecting it. I adored Emma Mills' first novel, First & Then, but somehow I adored this one even more. I knew it would have her trademark quick, funny dialogue, banter, and liveliness, plus the searing insights and romantic tension I love. But what I was NOT expecting was to be completely obliterated by how much I recognized myself in this book. OUCH, MY HEART. MY HAPPY-SOBBING, SAD-SOBBING, OH-WOW-I-AM-NOT-ALONE-sobbing heart.
I'm getting emotional AGAIN writing this review oh god someone go get me some wine or a cake or Gabe Fuller to cuddle or something
The plot of This Adventure Ends is pretty simple--girl moves to a new town in a new state and falls in with a new group of friends-- and honestly doesn't sound like how AMAZING it is, because the key to this book is the characters. There's Sloane, our narrator, who I'll discuss at length and probably sob about more in a bit. Then there's Sloane's dad, a Nicholas Sparks-esque writer of tragic romantic fiction who is joining Jon Glass from Unspoken in the pantheon of best YA dads. He's in a dreadful state of writer's block and has turned to a Teen Wolf-esque TV show and the world of fic for inspiration, and it is a joy to read.
|I quite literally hugged the book to my heart when I finished it|
Then there are Sloane's new friends, the best of whom are Frank, Remy, and my bbys, Gabe and Vera Fuller, twins and opposites and light of my life. Vera is magical and bright and sparkling, a social media star who makes everyone around her feel all glowy and wonderful. SHE IS BEYOND PRECIOUS. And then there's grumpy grumperson Gabe, who is serious Not Here for Nonsense or Laughter. HE IS ALSO PRECIOUS. Their mother semi-recently died, and they're both suffering a lot of grief. There's a subplot (which i just miswrote as sob-plot, which is also accurate) about a painting their mother made that was extremely precious to them getting accidentally sold, and Sloane deciding to track it down for them. The way that journey played out was so BEAUTIFUL and it ripped my heart to shreds, and the reason it did was because I cared so much for Gabe and Vera, and for Sloane, the reluctant heart of it all.
Oh maaaan, Sloane. I love her so much I honestly am in pain right now. She's quick, hilarious, and very emotionally detached from her life. It's a very slow process getting to know her, because she really just doesn't allow herself to feel things. Not in a closed off, gloomy, emo way--just that she's funny but she never laughs, and she just somehow doesn't love the way others do. (Or so she thinks. or so she will learn. Through paintings and twins and friends and her innate senses of loyalty and justice and ME CRYING MY FACE OFF SLOANE SO BRILLIANT SO EMOTIONALLY NOT BRILLIANT AND I'M LOSING COHERENCY BECAUSE HER JOURNEY OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH HER FRIENDS AND WITH LOVE AND WITH HERSELF IS JUST I NEED A MOMENT)
You can't help but bring your own life experiences to books, and so I know not everyone is going to connect to a book as personally as I did to This Adventure Ends. This book is about a set of boy and girl twins grieving the loss of a parent; I have a twin brother, and I'm grieving the same loss. Sloane's dad discussing the glory and comfort of fandom could have been ripped from my brain.
And as for Sloane...I think the last character that made me feel like I was seeing something I thought only I thought in print was Cath from Fangirl. Like that degree of holy shit, I am not alone in the universe was so real that it made me fucking bawl like a baby. I don't know. LEAVE ME A LONE DON'T LOOK AT ME
Anyways...yeah. Read this. It's my favorite contemporary of the whole year. The banter is so funny you'll cry with laughter, and then if you're me you'll just cry. ALSO SHIP SHIP SHIP, which I probably should have blathered about earlier, but oh my god ship. Friendship and ship ship and JUST FEELINGS
A few notable quotables:
"Everyone should have punched-in-the-face-for kinds of friends. Everyone should have...you know. Like the people you call when you need to hide the body."
"The majority of fics have happy endings. Did you know that? It fascinates me. They can nominate the darkest and the bleakest and the saddest stuff for awards, and maybe it's the best, but deep down I feel like something of that supposed quality doesn't hold a candle to the feeling you get when everything works out in the end. You feel that click in your chest; you feel something settle in you. That's worth a thousand tragedies to me."