A reader might approach this novel thinking it’s simply one of those run of the mill teen contemporary stories that discusses traditional teen issues and offers a sensitive, if not uplifting resolution. But actually, Mills’ novel is a cut above the rest. Even though the novel deals with those traditional topics of family discord, parental death, confidence issues and budding relationships, they are presented in a way that allows readers to forego noting the obvious similarities found in comparable literary works (i.e., “Uh, this book is just like…” or “Oh, this same thing happened in…”), in favor of simply enjoying the various journeys Mills’ characters take over the course of her novel.
As the novel progresses, Mills’ characters face many emotional obstacles, obstacles that are in part overcome by the characters’ budding friendships. Friendship is presented in a very natural way as it evolves across the story, and the novel does not shy away from describing friendship’s inevitable highs and lows. The presentation is enhanced by the novel’s dialogue. Character interaction is wonderful here; the novel is full of witty banter and entertaining one liners that at times help to assuage some of the more tensely emotional scenes that occur.
However, not all of the relationships presented in this novel are actively involved in open forms of communication with each other. Sloane, the novel’s protagonist is lucky in having a supportive father, a confidant akin to a best friend. Vera and Gabe’s relationship with their father, on the other hand, is at an impasse. While the novel offers them a potential understanding of their father’s actions, it’s left to the reader to decide what may happen with their strained relationship. These juxtaposed interactions work well in presenting a truly authentic and natural story that helps ground the novel, assisting the actual adventure the protagonist embarks upon, which at times attempts to stretch the reader’s imagination.
Despite this one flaw, the ending is supportive of the overall realistic tone of the novel. The novel does not attempt to solve all of the problems that are introduced. Instead, even though the adventure ends for us as readers with those final few pages, the adventure is still very much ongoing for the characters. All in all, this is a highly enjoyable novel that should attract many readers.
Copy provided by NetGalley