The Adventurers by Bryce Oakley is an opposites-attract, age-gap romance that does a great job of balancing silliness with conflict.

The story opens with Joey Moore at her engagement party. Or, what would have been her engagement party, if her fiancee hadn’t freaked out and broken up with her in front of all of the people Joey loves most in the world. Uninterested in getting over it while all those same people watch her (small towns being what they are…), Joey packs all her stuff and her dog, Ozzy, into her car and moves an hour away to give herself a fresh start in Denver.

Kendall O’Hara has her cats, her best friend is having a baby, and she’s comfortable working as a veterinarian in someone else’s practice. She learned the hard way a long time ago that love isn’t for her and Kendall is content with her lot in life.

After a laundromat mishap, Joey and Kendall end up with each other’s laundry. They run into each other again and strike up a friendship after Ozzy eats something he really shouldn’t have and Joey takes him to Kendall’s clinic. The two talk about how they want to get out of their comfort zones and decide that they’ll do it together. They each write a bunch of stuff they want to finally try and take turns drawing things out of their adventure jar.

Going on adventures brings them together in ways they never would have anticipated. But can Kendall accept the possibility of love again? And can Joey set her tendency to fall hard and fast aside long enough to let Kendall catch up with her?

The Characters

I liked Joey and Kendall. They have totally opposite approaches to love—Joey being a serial monogamist and Kendall being alone on purpose—and it makes for an interesting dynamic as they become friends and eventually lovers. There is an age gap between them, too, since Joey is 28 and Kendall is 42, and I appreciated seeing Kendall struggle with her attraction to someone so much younger.

The other star of The Adventurers is Ozzy. If he hadn’t eaten that thing (I’m not spoiling it because it’s hilarious), Kendall and Joey might never have met.

The Writing Style

I was surprised by how funny this book is. I laughed out loud at several points, including when Joey’s sister punches someone out to defend her. It. Was. Glorious.

And yet, while it’s overall a fairly light story, it packs a few punches too when it comes to conflict. Like I mentioned above, Joey falls very hard and much faster than Kendall when they get together. The way that plays out feels realistic and true to their characters.

The Pros

The light tone and humour are, hands down, my favourite elements of The Adventurers.

The Cons

I don’t have any!

The Conclusion

The Adventurers was a welcome escape from a terrible week and I had so much fun with it. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, silly romance, I recommend it.

Excerpt from The Adventurers by Bryce Oakley

Joey walked in the clinic, looking around. The waiting area was cozy but clean, and the walls were littered with pictures of dogs and cats and bunnies and… was that an iguana?

“Can I get a full name?” Kat asked from behind the desk. In the light, Joey could see that Kat was generically gorgeous, with tanned skin and highlighted blonde hair. It made Joey feel a bit silly for wearing yoga pants and a too-tight jacket.

Seriously, who looked that good in scrubs? Besides that woman at the laundromat…

Kat was looking at her, waiting for an answer. Shit, what was the question? Oh, right. His full name.

“Oh, sure. Ozzy Pawsbourne, Prince of Barkness,” Joey said clearly.

Kat paused. “Oh, I mean your full name,” she said with a grin.

“Oh, sorry, yeah, it’s Josephine Moore,” she said.

“Wow, that’s a fantastic dog name,” a woman said as she walked in from the back hallway in jeans and a t-shirt, drying her hands on a paper towel. The only reason she looked vaguely official was the stethoscope around her neck.

Joey stared in surprise as she recognized the woman. “Oh hey, you’re the laundromat bag lady!” She said without thinking.

Without her scrubs on, she looked like a normal person. Her hair was pulled into a low ponytail, with a few strands falling around her face. It wasn’t fair for her to look so cool and put together at 11 p.m. Was she really a vet?

“Bag lady?” The woman asked, recognition dawning on her. “Oh, laundry thief!”

“Excuse me?” Joey asked, her defenses rising immediately. Her grip tightened on Ozzy’s leash.

“Our laundry got switched,” Bag Lady said, gesturing to Joey’s jacket. “That’s mine.”

Joey glanced down at the jacket she was wearing. Sure enough, it wasn’t hers. It was blue, for one thing, and had Dr. Kendall O’Hara, Mountain View Vet Hospital embroidered on the side. “Huh,” she said, conceding. “I guess… it is.”

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